9 Project Charter Elements
There are nine elements that all project charters should include to be successful. These nine elements are the purpose, objectives, overview, schedules, resources, stakeholders, risk management plans, deliverables, and evaluation procedures (Meredith, Shafer and Mantel 2017, 218). Meredith, Shafer, and Mantel provide overviews of these different elements in detail (Meredith, Shafer and Mantel 2017, 192-193).
The purpose element is a short summary that highlights the goals of the project and relates them to the organizational objectives for people unfamiliar with the project.
The objective or scope should contain the measurable goals, their priorities, and what measures of completion and success will be.
The overview provides a high-level description of the project, its requirements, assumptions, and any technology or contractors that will be used.
Schedules are another critical element and include a list of all the milestone events and the estimated time or deadline for those major tasks.
The resources section includes budget, equipment, and contractual requirements.
The stakeholder section is important to identify who the personnel, clients, community, and other stakeholders are in addition to the project manager, owner, and sponsor.
A risk management plan is also important to identify upfront where potential problems may arise and to mitigate them early if possible.
A deliverable section is important to identify what the actual final products will be from the project.
To ensure a successful project, an evaluation section should also be included that creates the methods and standards for monitoring and evaluating the projects deliverables and efforts.
What is a Work Breakdown Structure?
A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a hierarchical planning system of listing work activities out by different levels of detail to develop a comprehensive task list. A WBS helps outline all the work that needs to be done to complete a project (Meredith, Shafer and Mantel 2017, 199). This not only helps the project manager (PM) stay organized from a timeline perspective, but it also helps them engage team members in a way that increases accountability and motivation (Meredith, Shafer and Mantel 2017, 173). The most successful projects clearly state what is expected of the team regarding goals, responsibilities, authority, and items to accomplish (Meredith, Shafer and Mantel 2017, 173). With a WBS, a project manager can ensure that these elements needed for a successful project are clear, concise, and defined down to a granular level.
What are the basic steps to design and use the WBS?
A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a hierarchical planning system of listing work activities out by different levels of detail to develop a comprehensive task list. A WBS helps outline all the work that needs to be done to complete a project (Meredith, Shafer and Mantel 2017, 199). While the format can vary between things like Gozinto charts, multi-level lists, memos, or other types, the WBS is effectively a simplified version of the project plan that is focused on tasks (Meredith, Shafer and Mantel 2017, 201). The first step is to list out the major activities that need to be completed. These will represent the level 1 order tasks. The next step is to take each of those first level tasks and break them up into sub-tasks to form a level 2 order of tasks underneath each level 1 task. Then do that again for level 2 tasks to create level 3 tasks underneath those level 2 tasks. Continue this process until all the tasks are well understood at the individual worker level, no additional breakdowns are needed, and each task level has the same level of generality (Meredith, Shafer and Mantel 2017, 199). Once these tasks are all listed out in their hierarchical structure, the different work packages can have costs, schedules, and personnel assigned to them. The WBS can be used to assign work, monitor progress, estimate resource needs, develop timelines, and any other use that a PM may find useful (Meredith, Shafer and Mantel 2017, 201-202).
Author: Logan Callen
Meredith, Jack R., Scott M. Shafer, and Samuel J. Mantel. 2017. Project Management: A Strategic Managerial Approach. 10th ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN-13: 9781119369097.