Getting Alignment By Using Project Charters

What is the secret to project success?

Starting well, provides a better chance of finishing well. 
As a leader of a project, it can be daunting trying to start an agile project off on the right foot. This article explores how a Project Charter —often overlooked— contains very important ingredients to help with team success throughout a project.

About Project Charters

A Project Charter is a document that is created at the beginning of an agile project. It typically serves as a road-map for achieving the intended results of the project. It consists of three items:
  • project's Vision Statement
  • a Mission Statement, and
  • Success Criteria.
Project Charters provide a strong and clear vision of a future state. They defines the rules by which the team will be agile. It can also contain an approach of continuous improvement, and focus on outcomes that deliver for stakeholders.
Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Elements of a Project Charter

This section describes what a Project Charter might contain and why.

Vision

Visions are a simple and effective call to action typically written in plain English. Project Vision helps answer why we are doing the project, it describes the purpose of the project.
Think of your project vision as a map to get to your destination.  

Mission

This is the "how." How will we work together to achieve this vision? Agile mindset for example. It is typically a pithy business paragraph describing your project's overall goals, including user roles, project approach etc. For instance, how will the team work together to achieve the vision?

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplas

Success Criteria

This is a one sentence task to ensure your team accomplishes the mission. It should also include aim statements that describe time frames and aspirational goals. It has nothing to do with functionality.

The Success Criteria outlines what outcomes the project will achieve. 

An example is: “... a store-person will be able to successfully pick, pack, and ship a customer order within 2 hours of that order using the new warehouse management system.”

Final thought

These three simple ingredients outlines the how of the project. Next time you begin a project, take some time to capture this, it will help you set up for success!

Of Note

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Until next time, keep it agile!