Your project’s purpose.
Why are you doing it? What are the aims and objectives? Try to sum it up in one concise goal statement. And make it specific! Compare the following:
- A weak goal statement: “We want this project to increase revenue.”
- A better goal statement: “This project aims to deliver a new product to X market in Y time to increase our revenue by Z% within 2 years.”
Make sure you’re clear about what you’re doing and why, because the right goal statement can set the tone for everything else. (No pressure.)
What success looks like.
What are you hoping to achieve with this project? This is a good time to start thinking about measurable KPIs so you can create a project plan that tangibly delivers on your success criteria.
The key players.
You might not know every single person who’s involved yet, but you should know enough to get you started: project sponsor, project manager, and any other key stakeholders. This is a good time to list them out, as well as their specific roles within the project.
Risks you’ve identified.
You’ll discover more of these as you flesh out your project plan, but this is a good place to acknowledge any top-level risks that you already know about from the outset.
What is it that you actually need to deliver as part of this project?
High-level overview of resources, budget, and people power.
If there are already any pre-approved resources allocated to this project, make a note of them in your project charter so you know what you’re working with.
A top-level summary schedule.
You can delve into the nitty-gritty later, but it’s useful to outline a basic timeframe for your project, as well as plot out any key milestones along the way.
Your charter isn’t to go deep on any of the above; you can do that in the project plan. Instead, your aim is to cover enough ground to align all key stakeholders and get everyone onto the same page about the purpose, scope, and breadth of the project, so they can embark on the project with confidence.