“The beginning is the most important part of the work” – Plato
We live in a time of action, where we focus on completing tasks, activities and delivering tangible results. Once assigned, project teams want to get started and are usually highly motivated at the beginning to “dig-in” and show positive results. But, a good project manager knows that there is hard and critical work to do at the start of a project before the project team can move forward. Getting the start right is often the hardest part of the job. A poorly defined project will run into problems “down-the-road” that can be avoided with a well prepared Project Charter.
It all starts with the Project Charter – which is a document that defines the scope, objectives and participants in a project. It provides a preliminary delineation of roles and responsibilities, outlines the project objectives, identifies the main stakeholders, and defines the authority of the project manager. It serves as a reference of authority for the future of the project.
I recommend that the Project Charter be agreed and signed by your Sponsor, the major Stakeholders and any key line managers that will impact the success of your project.
As a project manager, the Project Charter is your “Project North Star”, so make sure you spend the time to do it right. It will help you to manage a successful initiative.