What Is a Project Charter?

A project charter is a small document that states the scope, core goals and intent of a project. It identifies the key participants, outlines the project objectives and establishes the authority of the project manager. A project charter acts as a reference for the future of a project.

A project charter is a part of the project management process that is required for Customer Relationship Management and Initiative for Policy Dialogue. The document helps the project manager to explain to the stakeholders and participants why the project is essential, including its start date and deadline, resources needed to ensure its completion, and risks and barriers involved with the project.

A good project charter should be short and to the point. Bulleted lists, numberings and outlines are used to make content easy to read. A well-written project acts as a focal point for settling disputes, measuring progress, avoiding deviation from the project scope and keeping the participants focused on the end-result.

Depending on a company’s management style and culture, a charter may serve the same purpose as a business case. In large organizations, a charter may be a multi-page document written by mid-level management. In small companies, the charter may contain just a few paragraphs with bulleted items.