How To Write an Effective Project Charter

If there is a document that should never be ignored before starting a project, it would be a project charter. Why? Because a project charter serves as a definition of how the success of a project will be measured, and it can also be a crucial element in planning the project and communicating its benefits and objectives to stakeholders.

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What Is a Project Charter in Project Management?

A project charter is a formal document that describes your project in its entirety. It’s a summary of all the roles, goals, and scope of your project, and it provides stakeholders and project members an overview of the plan that will be executed. 

When done well, a project charter will help you achieve objectives by helping you define the process, roles, and responsibilities of those involved. In project management, a charter is a crucial tool because it can provide guidance during the entire project lifecycle. 

The Main Points in a Project Charter

When creating a project charter, you should focus on three main points:

  • The essence of the project. Here, you should focus on the goals and objectives of the project, as well as how you’re planning to reach and achieve these goals and objectives.
  • The reason for the project. The charter needs to be able to communicate its value and its reason for existence to every stakeholder.
  • Responsibilities. A project charter also needs to be able to clearly identify and outline the responsibilities and duties of each person involved in the project. 

What Are the Main Benefits of a Project Charter?

There are many benefits to working with project charters when managing projects, but some of the most common ones are:

  • Project charters will help everyone stay informed of every aspect of the project, from beginning to end.
  • They help to minimize miscommunication, eliminating silos.
  • Speed up the approval process by providing clear guidance to stakeholders.
  • Keep everyone on track during the entire project’s lifecycle

When Will I Need to Create a Project Charter?

The primary goal of a charter is to authorize the project manager to start the approved project, this is why it’s important to reference, in its content, how the project is aligned to the company’s strategies. In short, you’ll be creating a project charter because:

  • You need authorization for your project. Think about this document as a sales pitch. It helps stakeholders understand the value of the project and, with a project charter, you can share everything about your plan and get it underway as quickly as possible.

  • Keep your project on track. Your project charter serves as a guideline for everyone involved. This document helps you keep track of crucial information and you can always go back to the original vision and revisit it as many times as needed.

  • It serves as a primary sales document. A charter will also serve as a summary that stakeholders can easily use to distribute or present when approached about similar projects.

Project Charter Example

A project charter should be short and straightforward. You’ll want to keep it simple but it’s important that you’re also able to communicate the essence of the project in a few words. Managing projects also mean managing lots of information, but a project charter will be most successful when it’s presented as a high-level overview of your project.

A project charter typically documents:

  • Reasons for the project
  • Objectives and constraints of the project
  • Benefits of the project
  • Stakeholders
  • Risks identified
  • General overview of the budget

Here’s what an effective project charter should look like and include:

Project name

Project description and summary

Business case

SMART objectives, including deliverables

Project background

Context and reason for existing

Project scope and boundaries

Main stakeholders and project members

Customers and end-users

Implementation plan


Constraints and risks

Budget and costs

Use the Right Tools to Conduct Effective Project Charters

Before you start any project, you should first take the time to write a project charter. It’s a fundamental tool that can define the outcome of your project. And while a business case and a budget plan will need to be more detailed, a project chart will serve as a roadmap and a guide for your project. For you and for everyone involved. 

But wouldn’t it be easier if you could create and document your project charter online? Turning a charter into a plan requires a tool that is flexible enough to adjust to the amount of information and the many tasks involved. Instagantt, a project management software, helps you create and manage projects online. With this software, you’ll be able to create professional-looking Gantt charts in only minutes. Take a look:

Project Charter Template

Project Charter Example

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