A project charter is a short document (I love one-pagers!) that is approved by the project managers and stakeholders and used by all team members when running a project, specially in the initiation and planning phases.
It expresses the objectives of the project, the conditions and risks, the go-to people, stakeholders and decision makers as well as the initial budget and constraints, the communications strategy…
Project charters are useful not only because they make sure everybody is on the same page regarding the fundaments of the project, but also because they reinforce the position of the project manager and acts as a framework for decision making and acceptance.
This version of the project charter is a visual one: compared with redacted documents that are at least a couple of pages long and require verbalising the agreements, this one can be printed in A3 paper and filled in with markers or sticky notes (or better, stattys!) while agreements are being made.
It is inspired by the clarity of tools like the Business Model Canvas (more on it in my blog soon) and other mind-mapping tools. Having all in one page makes things visible at first glance, while the colour codes divide the form in 6 sections: blue for general information, green for inputs, purple for targets, orange for people, yellow for conditions, and red for strategy.
A good idea once you are done with the preparation of the project charter is to make a digital version you can send by email to all the stakeholders and get a written GO! If you this this could help you and want an editable version, feel free to reach me at hola at cristinasantamarina dot com to get an editable file for free.
Have you used project charters before? What models work the best for you? As always, looking fw to hearing what you have to say!