Project Charter - University of Waterloo

Project Charter
[Insert Project Name]
Author: [Type the author name]
Last Updated: March 11, 2016
Project Charter – [Insert Project Name]
Purpose of Project Charter
The purpose of the project charter is to clearly outline what is to be done and authorize the Project Manager to proceed and
apply organizational resources. The charter provides the opportunity for the sponsor to authorize the project based on
measurable objectives in relation to a business need, and defined parameters such as scope, milestones, roles, responsibilities,
and budget. The project charter is not meant to approve the project, which was done through intake, nor to document how
things will be done, which is done through planning (after initiation is complete). It is simply documentation around the
authorization provided to the Project Manager for that project. The project charter is part of the Portfolio Management Group’s
project initiation process.
A project charter is required as part of the project initiation process when a project is medium or large in size, with moderate or
substantial complexity, according to the project complexity chart. Projects of this nature may include risks that need to be
monitored and mitigated, a resource commitment (expenses and people time) of at least $250,000, a significant change in
processes or how resources are used, and/or a solution that requires collaboration and commitment across various business
Project Charter Participants and Approvers
Input into the project charter may come from many different sources including, but not limited to, Sponsor, senior leadership,
project intake form and/or business case, initial analysis/research done when proposing the project, subject matter experts
within business unit(s), and other stakeholders (such as staff, students, faculty).
The author is typically the Project Manager for the project. If somebody else authors the charter, the Project Manager will still
provide a signature that they agree to execute the project according to the documented parameters.
The approver of the project charter is the Sponsor.
Research and understand project information by reading any prior documentation (such as intake form, business case,
and research/analysis) and speaking to Sponsor and other stakeholders.
Create the project charter with input from applicable stakeholders and Sponsor by filling out the sections in the
template. The green italic text contains instructions for filling out the template and can be removed for the final
version of the document.
Review charter with applicable stakeholders for accuracy and completeness, if required.
Obtain appropriate approval for project charter to indicate agreement between the Project Manager and Sponsor
about the parameters of the project and authorizing the Project Manager to begin.
Scan the signed project charter and upload to the Project Knowledge Base
Next Steps
Once the project charter has been approved, the Project Manager can begin the stakeholder analysis and fill out the initial
version of the stakeholder register to understand who needs to be represented on the Project Team. Based on the Project
Manager’s understanding of stakeholders, he/she can then talk to Functional Managers to negotiate time from their resources
for the project and schedule a project kickoff meeting. The Project Manager can also start documenting the risks in a risk
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Project Charter – [Insert Project Name]
Project Purpose
Provide a paragraph or two describing the project and a bit of background information, if relevant. Links
to previous project documents such as the business case or intake form can be included to keep this
section brief.
[Insert Introduction]
Provide a high level description of the project’s scope. This should include what is within scope, and what
is not in scope. Include any assumptions pertaining to scope. For larger projects, this description is high
level and there should be a reference to a more detailed scope description in the Project Management
[Insert Scope]
Success Criteria
Describe what criteria will be used to measure the success of the project by providing objectives/goals
and/or benefits of the project and how they will be measured.
[Insert Objectives]
Provide a list of any known project constraints at the time of initiation. It is understood that this list is
subject to change as the project evolves through planning and execution.
[Insert Constraints]
Provide a list of any project dependencies that are known at the time of initiation. It is understood that
this list is subject to change as the project evolves through planning and execution.
[Insert Dependencies]
Provide the source of funding, and an estimation of project costs that are known at the time of initiation.
List any assumptions pertaining to the budget. It is understood that this can change as the project
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Project Charter – [Insert Project Name]
evolves through planning and execution, and that budget will be tracked and managed accordingly in a
separate document.
[Insert Budget]
Deliverables and Milestones
List known deliverables and milestones for the project, and possible timelines (if known). It is understood
at the time of initiation that this list is subject to change as the project evolves through planning and
[Insert Timeline]
Resource Roles and Responsibilities
The text below contains standard roles and responsibilities for a standard project, therefore are not
meant to provide an exact match to University position titles, job descriptions, or career path
descriptions. One person may be responsible for more than one “role” on the project, or the
responsibilities within a “role” may be performed by more than one person on the project. The
responsibilities can be moved accordingly based on who will be doing what. If the who and what is not
known, retain the standard roles and responsibilities until more information is known during project
planning and execution. If name and FTE estimates for the role are known at the time of initiation, that
information can be included. A RACI chart for standard project roles and responsibilities can also be
 The Sponsor is accountable for the success of the project. To achieve
this, the Sponsor will:
o Ensure the business needs are valid, correctly prioritized, and
documented in the business case (if applicable)
o Ensure the project delivers the agreed sustainable business
benefits, goals and objectives
o Ensure the project is properly launched
o Ensure changes to the project are properly approved
o Resolve issues and conflicts and remove obstacles that are
beyond the control of the Project Manager
o Obtain commitment and buy in from senior leadership
o Obtain and commit appropriate resources (budget and people)
o Ensure Project Manager achieves project objectives
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 Approve key project deliverables such as the business case, charter,
milestones/stage gates, final sign off and closeout
 Provide appropriate updates and negotiations/facilitations with senior
leadership and IT Governance bodies
Project Manager
Ultimately, the PM is responsible for the success of the project. To achieve this,
the PM will:
 Initiate the project with the charter, negotiate for project resources, and
execute a project kickoff
 Develop, execute and monitor Project Plan and schedule
 Manage and lead Project Team in formation and motivation towards
commitment and completion of tasks
 Secure acceptance and approval of deliverables and milestones from
Sponsor and Stakeholders
 Cultivate trust and communication with and amongst project’s
 Remove obstacles for Project Team
 Perform appropriate project risk management: identify, document,
monitor and ensure appropriate mitigation of project risks
 Manage expectations by aligning projects to business goals, managing
stakeholders and conflicts, and communicating project status, milestones,
and unexpected difficulties/issues effectively
 Manage project constraints (time, scope, budget plus any others) and
dependencies, ensuring requirements and expectations are met without
unforeseen, unapproved impacts
 Manage and forecast project costs and expenditures
 Create and achieve, in partnership with the sponsor, clear and attainable
project objectives that align with stakeholder expectations and business
 Procure, manage and appropriately close vendor partnerships pertaining
to the project
 Manage project issues, ensuring they are assigned and addressed
appropriately, and escalate issues that cannot be resolved within Project
 Ensure quality standards are met
 Create, execute and manage appropriate project communications
 Establish and manage appropriate project change management
 Manage project training
 Liaise with management and governance bodies, relevant to risks,
complexity and impact of project
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 Plan for and execute appropriate cutover and transition processes for the
final deliverable(s)
 Perform project closeout
Subject Matter
Experts (SMEs)
Commit and provide appropriate resources to the Project Team, if
Educate the Project Team about their business and objectives, ensuring
the project fits with their business strategy
Provide specific, precise requirements, and set requirement priorities
Make timely decisions
Review and provide timely feedback regarding relevant project work
Promptly communicate changes to requirements
Ownership of business processes and procedures, and project
Keep informed of project progress, and send information to others who
need to know
Assist in establishing and executing training
Approve key project deliverables, if applicable, including final sign
off/acceptance during closure
Identify and resolve any project issues and risks
The responsibility of the SME is to ensure the facts and details are correct so that
the project’s deliverable(s) will meet the needs of the stakeholders, legislation,
policies, standards, and best practices. To achieve this, SMEs will:
 Support the definition of processes and policies, supply business rules
and procedures, and communicate the contexts in which the rules,
processes and polices are applied
 Accurately represent their business units’ needs to the project team
 Validate the requirements and deliverables that describe the product or
service that the project will produce
 Bring information about the project back to the customer community
 Provide input for the design and construction of test cases and scenarios,
and may also validate executed test results
 Provide input into and/or create and execute user documentation and
training material
 Test the product or service towards the end of the project (User
Acceptance Testing), using and evaluating it for accuracy and usability,
providing feedback to the Project Team
 Guide other professionals on the project to ensure the content is
 Resolve issues relevant to project deliverable(s) within their area of
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 Obtain or provide approval for changes to rules, processes and policies
Project Team
The Project Team is responsible for contributing to the overall project objectives
and specific team deliverables, by contributing towards the planning of project
activities and executing assigned tasks/work within the expected quality
standards, to ensure the project is a success. The Project Team will:
 Provide information, estimates and feedback to the PM during project
 Provide business and/or technical expertise to execute project tasks
 Liaise with stakeholders to ensure the project meets business needs
 Analyze and document current and future processes and systems
(functional and technical)
 Identify and map information needs
 Define and document requirements
 Support and provide end user training
 Report issues and status to PM
 Work collaboratively with other Team members towards achieving
common project goals/objectives
Project Owner
Business Analyst
Same responsibilities as Project Team, as well as:
o assists the PM in providing leadership for, and managing the
Team’s performance of project activities
o actively encourages buy in from project stakeholders
Elicit, translate, validate, communicate, negotiate and manage
requirements through techniques such as interviews, walkthroughs,
surveys, use cases, specifications, and modeling
 Scope a project to meet business needs
 Identify, define, communicate, and negotiate for solutions (technical,
business process/procedural, etc.) that will maximize the value delivered
by an organization or business unit to its stakeholders
 Act as communication conduit between the stakeholders and the Project
 Translate technical and architectural issues so that project stakeholders
can understand and make effective decisions
 Assist in writing user acceptance tests/cases, and liaise between testing
resources and stakeholders
 Represent stakeholders on the project
 Identify and model processes, data, and business rules
Provide representatives who will:
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 Have the authority to make decisions on behalf of the areas of their
business unit(s) that will be using or be affected by the product or service
the project will deliver
 Achieve business unit consensus on project issues and outputs, and
communicate it to the Project Manager and Project Team
 Attend requested project meetings
 Review and approve process deliverables
 Provide appropriate subject matter expertise resources to the Project
 Communicate changes to their resources’ availability to the Project
 Track project status and understand impacts to their resources and areas
of responsibility
 If directly responsible for function affected by or affecting deliverable
o assists the PM in providing leadership and achieving buy in for
that function
o Evaluate and assess overall effectiveness and quality of
o Ensure performance of their function improved and crossfunctional integration is working and effective
o Participate in project decision-making, relevant to impact on the
functions he/she is responsible for
o Communicate with Project Manager on any changes to the
project that affects the quality or scope of deliverable
o Ensure appropriate requirements for the deliverable are
communicated and understood
o Participate in project risk and issue management with Project
Manager, where required
 If has direct supervision over one or more resources on the Project Team
o Ensure their resources’ time is not over allocated between
project work and other responsibilities
o Decide which resources to allocate to project, ensuring allocated
resources have the appropriate skills required for the project, or
have the ability to acquire those skills
o Understand the work required of his/her resource(s) on the
project and any new skills they may acquire as a result of the
project work
o Ensure resources are available to the project, as originally
o Handle any resource performance issues Project Manager brings
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Project Charter – [Insert Project Name]
This charter formally authorizes the [insert project name] project, based on the parameters outlined and
the information known at the time of project initiation. It is understood that some of this information
may change during planning and execution and, if so, will be discussed and documented through proper
project change management processes. This approval indicates an acknowledgement between the
Sponsor and Project Manager of the project’s parameters, and authorizes the Project Manager to
proceed with forming the Project Team and project kickoff.
Sponsor Authorization: [print name of sponsor, title here]
Date: ________________
Project Manager Acknowledgement: [print Project Manager name, title here]
Date: ________________
Revision History
Change Made By
Date Change
Details of Change
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Approved by
Date change
reviewed/ approved