A Project Charter provides a summary description for the elements of your project. The charter defines the scope, goals, objectives, and budget for a successful outcome. The charter is the foundation for any project.
The charter will authorize the project and the project manager. The charter will state the purpose and goals of the project.
In the charter, scope will be defined at a high level along with the project deliverables. This is important to capture at the start of the project so that all stakeholders are clear about what the requirements are.
Another item documented in a charter are risks. Identifying risks will be an ongoing process throughout the project but it is always good to identify as many risks as possible before the project starts.
Milestones should also be included in the charter. This will give you specific events to target during the project. Milestones could be things such as current state review or major testing has been completed. If your project is construction of a house, a milestone could be the completion of pouring the foundation.
Key stakeholders should be documented in the charter. List key stakeholders involved or associated with the project. The list could include names and titles along with departments or segments. As stakeholders are identified, the individuals should be captured in the project stakeholder register as well.
Another item in the charter should be project approval requirements. Document how the project and the project deliverables will be validated and/or approved. These approval requirements will determine how the project will be classified as a success.
One last item that should be in the charter is the exit criteria. All projects are temporary and will come to an end. The charter describes the criteria in which the project can be considered officially closed.