The project charter is written during the project planning phase of the systems development life cycle. The project manager must be sure the project charter is created and get it approved by stakeholders, however, the project charter creation is a team effort.
The project charter provides an overview of the project and is used to authorize the project and identifies or provides:
Reasons for the project - What problem is solved or benefit is provided by the project
Project objectives - Describes the functions that the project will provide and what will be created.
Project scope - Describes the limits of the project. Lists the features of the software to be created.
Project deliverables - Describes items to be delivered including reports, manuals, user guides, technical guides, test plans, test results, installation plans, maintenance plans, software, and hardware.
Project status reporting and communication
Project stakeholders and participants - Defines roles and responsibilities of involved participants and identifies a project manager. The funding authority should be identified. The project team, team structure, and team roles should be identified. The required skills for tasks and the skill set of the team members must be considered. The project sponsor must support and approve the project charter. The project sponsor must provide the project manager with an understanding about what is required from the project by the business.
Resource Requirements - Resources required by the project including equipment, tools, and office space should be specified. Consideration for computer equipment capacity should be considered relative to the size of the project. The amount of time, money, and labor to establish and support the project should be considered although this would be a very rough estimate at this stage. A general project schedule should be created.
Project stages - The Development Life Cycle Policy should be referenced to specify project stages and objectives.
Project risk - Factors that may affect success or failure should be evaluated in a risk management plan. New teams, new team members, and new technologies are a few factors that increase project risk. Actions to be taken which will minimize the project risk should be included in the risk management plan.
The project charter allows stakeholders to agree upon the project objectives, deliverables, scope, and status reporting methods and frequency. The project charter may refer to other documents related to the project including the project communication plan. The project charter should help establish:
Project best practices
Project planning and management
Project management structure