6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 4.1 Develop Project Charter Outputs

I am starting a project of going through the 6th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide and blogging about its contents.    The 6th Edition was released on September 22nd by the Project Management Institute, and now that I am done reviewing the first three chapters on projects, the environment in which they are done, and the role of the project manager, I am excited to start the fourth chapter on the first of the 10 knowledge areas, that of Project Integration Management.   This post starts a series of posts on the first project management process, process 4.1 Develop Project Charter.    Let’s assume that, as a project manager, you have been tasked by the sponsor to create the project charter.  What should you put in it?

Of course, the main purpose of the project charter is for the project sponsor to give the project manager authority to use the organization’s resources to do the project.   But the secondary purpose is for the project manager to go into the project with as much high-level information about the project as possible when he or she goes into the planning phase.   So what I’ve done is I’ve gone through the list of items that PMI recommends putting in the project charter, and I’ve divided them into the 10 knowledge areas covered by the PMBOK® Guide.

  1. Integration–project purpose, project approval requirements, name and authority of the project sponsor, assigned project manager,
  2. Scope–measurable project objectives
  3. Schedule–summary milestone schedule
  4. Cost–pre-approved financial resources
  5. Quality–high-level requirements, project success/exit criteria
  6. Resources–project manager responsibility and authority level
  7. Communications (see Stakeholders)
  8. Risk–overall project risk
  9. Procurement (optional only if project is external)
  10. Stakeholders–key stakeholder list

As you can see, most of the knowledge areas will have some element of high-level information included in the project charter.   As mentioned in a previous post, much of the information to be included in the project charter can be found in one particular input, that of the business case document.

And since much of the information required in the project charter will come from key stakeholders, this is why the one other process that is included in the Initiating Process Group is 13.1 Identify Stakeholders.

Note that the other output for the Develop Project Charter process is the assumptions log, which lists high-level strategic and operational assumptions and constraints.   The reason why these are put in a separate log is that these assumptions need to be revisited periodically during the project (in the Monitoring and Controlling Process Group) to make sure they are still true.    If the conditions listed in the assumption log change for whatever reason, they might directly impact the project and need to be paid immediately attention to.

Two items which PMI did not explicitly put in the PMBOK® Guide on p. 81 but which are important nonetheless are

Pre-assigned human resources–these are people whom the project sponsor wants to have working on the project.   These will then be highlighted in the Resource Management Plan so that these people can be included on the project if at all possible

Exclusions–besides giving a general description of the project objectives, a good tool for preventing unnecessary changes is to have exclusions, that is, listing those objectives which the project sponsor explicitly is wanting to have excluded from the product, service or result which the project will create.    If a key stakeholder suggests one of these excluded objectives, then the project manager will have additional authority to say no by virtue of the fact that the project sponsor has said “no” right in the project charter.

This concludes my discussion of the project charter.   The process of creating it is the first integration management process.   Once you as the project manager have the project charter in hand, it’s off to the races, right?   No, you have to do Process 4.2 Develop Project Management Plan, and that is the subject of the next series of posts.




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