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How to Develop a Work Project Plan

Developing a work plan helps to articulate the steps required for achieving a goal. These plans help simplify the process when things get too complicated. Many companies use work project plans, and these guidelines explain how to create them.

What Is a Work Project Plan?

A project plan is a document that represents and specifies the goals, objectives and tactics of a program or project, as well as its tasks, leading activities, timing, sequencing and who will be responsible for everything. It sets demonstrable objectives with measurable objectives that are possible to be transformed into concrete actions. When team collaboration is effective, a work plan project document can act as a tool for guidance to help companies realize outcomes. Many companies use project plan templates to help them develop their work project plans from beginning to end.

Create an Outline

The work project plan should consist of an outline that’s broken down into goals, strategies, objectives and tactics. In this way, you’ll be able to better determine the overall outcome for success. Your goal should state the mission of your project. When outlining your strategies, you should focus on your goals and what you need to achieve them. Your objectives tie into your strategies in the form of deliverables. For example, if you want to make your business more profitable, an objective could be reducing marketing costs, and the strategy for that could be achieving a reduction of 25 percent per acquisition. The tactics you add to your outline are the checklists you’re using to achieve your goals, strategies and objectives.

Define Your Goals

Create a clear and concise definition of your goals so that you can develop your work plan project around specific goals. Defining your goals as narrowly as possible will help you develop an understanding of your overall needs. In doing so, you’ll ensure that deadlines will met, the project will stay on track, there will be enough resources available and the task will be completed. You’ll see more success if you keep your work project plan organized, plan it around your team and make sure it’s not designed solely around the project’s process.

Measure Your Team’s Progress

When you’re working on developing a work project plan, you need to remember to measure your team’s progress. You’ll be responsible for looking at the work they’ve accomplished, as well as what they still need to do to reach their goals. However, it is important to note that looking at too much information will muddle the results. So don’t focus too much on the results. Instead, focus on the project itself.

Planning Activities and Resource Management

Utilize planning worksheets to develop step-by-step activities and tasks for your team to follow throughout the project. Use an outline or template to create these worksheets, like a health and safety plan template or a campaign plan template. Assign specific activities to team members to help meet the objectives of your work project plan. Also look at how you’re managing your resources. For example, if you’re working on a project that calls for 25 people and your team currently consists of 15, you’ll need to recruit temporary workers (perhaps using a recruitment plan template) or be strategic with how the work is assigned to each member of your team.


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Why are project charters important and how to build a project charter

  • 5 mins to read
  • By Reagan Pannell
  • March 24, 2023

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If you’re a project manager or just managing a project, then one crucial document should be part of your toolkit: the Project Charter.

A project charter will help ensure that everyone involved in the project—from stakeholders and team members to executives—is on the same page right from the start regarding understanding the project objectives and guiding parameters.

With a handshake-style agreement finalised at kickoff, this vital document keeps all individuals accountable while providing clear direction and feasible constraints during development. Building an effective charter requires input from multiple parties but can be worth its weight in gold when done correctly to ensure all key stakeholders, project sponsors and project team members are all on the same page.

Within Lean Six Sigma, the project charter is the last step in the project Define stage. It explains what is known and not known about the project, and details key success criteria, project risks, project schedule, project costs and key deliverables. The project charter aligns the project manager, project sponsor, and key project stakeholders on the overall project plan. So let’s take a deep dive into the Project Charter.

A Project Charter is a record of what is known and planned about a selected project. Green Belt Course Tweet

What is a Project Charter, and why is it important

A project charter is an important formal document that includes a project’s scope, objectives, and milestones. It helps keep all stakeholders aligned with critical information such as project purpose, vision, goals, roles and responsibilities, timeline, budget and other relevant data.

The project charter is the ultimate reference guide for project planning, helping to keep any team or individual working on a project with a shared understanding. The project charter document is valuable because it provides an idea of the project’s future state and how it will get there from its current state.

A project charter ensures that everyone involved is on the same page regarding end goals and responsibilities by establishing a clear set of expectations from the start.

The project charter is not a static document. When we create a project charter at the beginning of the project, it documents the project vision, the key project risks, and the overall project life cycle based on the information we have today. But as projects develop, the project charter needs to be changed as key milestones and critical project information change. A project charter is, therefore, a living document.

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Within Lean Six Sigma, the Project Charter is a document which provides the formal agreement between the business and appropriate stakeholders and the Project Manager.

The purpose of a project charter is to document the purpose and direction of a project, define the roles and responsibilities of team members, and set expectations for project deliverables, including the business case justification for doing the project in the first instance.

It’s an essential tool for successful project management as it helps organize projects, keep them on track and make sure everyone involved is on the same page from start to finish. When written succinctly and adopted by all stakeholders, a well-crafted project charter can save time and money while allowing project managers to assess quickly how resources are best utilised given the tasks at hand. A Project charter enables accountability by clarifying each team member’s contributions and setting realistic objectives that can be tracked throughout development. With it, you can confidently align yourself with your goals towards delivering an effective result!

Key elements to include in your project charter

Crafting an effective project charter is essential to project success. It defines the project scope and objectives and sets the stage for how a project should run. Crucial project charter elements are project scope and deliverables, team roles and responsibilities, project timeline, approval processes, project tracking methods, communication plan, and assumptions.

To create a successful project charter, you must ensure clarity on all of these elements by having agreement from stakeholders. As you build out your project charter, consider engaging experts to ensure each element is considered to have appropriate documentation that encompasses the breadth of your project needs. Doing so will help ensure success across any project’s life cycle!

Steps to build a project charter

Crafting a comprehensive project charter is the crucial first step for any successful endeavour, but how exactly do you go about it?

A Project Charter should include the following elements:

A typical project charter will contain

Business Case – how does it impact the strategic business objectives

Problem statement – specific and measurable scope – what is in and out of scope benefits – a brief description of the anticipated benefits milestones – core milestones and deliverables risk – a short list of any risks to the project project plan – high-level key steps, timeline, tollgates stakeholders – details the list of key stakeholders.

Once you know why you are doing the project and what the exact problem is, you need to define the scope of your project and align on the project objectives. Led by the project manager, this will provide a vision of how each stakeholder’s role and responsibilities are necessary to complete tasks throughout the project lifecycle.

Your objectives or benefits should follow suit, honing in on specifics that must be achieved for the project to succeed. The expectations on these objectives should also be clarified to obtain sign-off from necessary stakeholders on evaluating them.

A risk analysis is key in crafting an effective charter; evaluate possible mitigation strategies to prepare for unforeseeable scenarios or issues that may arise during execution activities.

Finally, showing what will be done and when it is done through a high-level project charter is key.

By following these steps, how to write a project charter can become a seamless process resulting in a well-thought-out plan of action.

How is the Project Charter used in Six Sigma?

A Project Charter is a crucial document for success and is critical within the Lean Six Sigma project approach.

A Project Charter is essential for success and is critical within the Lean Six Sigma project approach. It clearly explains the project’s parameters, scope, project objectives, and deliverables while setting out roles and responsibilities. It also helps to ensure the stakeholders’ expectations are well defined, thus providing accountability throughout the project’s life cycle.

At the end of the define stage, when all the relevant elements and project background information has been gathered, the project charter is presented to the key stakeholder and Project Champion for sign-off. This sign-off gives the green light from the business to proceed with the project. Without this green light and project charter sign-off, no project should proceed.

Project Charter Template

Many project template variations range between word, excel, power templates or some via project management software, but the core elements remain the same.

As part of our Lean Six Sigma Training, we provide candidates with a Project Charter example that can be tailored based on the project charter templates used within their existing business.

So if you want to create a project charter or build reviewing a project management charter, you can download our project charter template to get some guidance and tailor it for your business.

Benefits of having a comprehensive and well-written project charter

Project charters offer numerous benefits to the project and its team members, such as increased alignment and focus on deliverables, improved communication, improved resource management, aligned project objectives and an established framework for decision-making.

Project charters provide a comprehensive view of the project’s goals, strategies, timeline and resources to complete the project successfully. Therefore, building a comprehensive and well-written project charter is essential for any successful project as it lays a strong foundation for the team’s success throughout the process.

Project Charter Summary

A project charter sets up the groundwork for any project and is essential for tracking progress, managing resources, aligning project stakeholders and producing results. You’ve learned what a project charter is and why it’s important, including key elements in your charter, steps to build a high-quality project charter and mistakes to avoid.

Investing time into creating a comprehensive and well-written project charter will yield tremendous rewards by keeping everyone on the same page throughout the process.

To help you make an excellent project charter, download our project charter template example sample now so you can get your team off to a flying start. Get ready to kick off your successful projects with an excellent Project Charter!

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What is a Project Charter and Why Do We Need One?

Table of Contents

Recently, I had the opportunity to volunteer for a not-for-profit organization to manage its website development project. While working with my portfolio manager, I asked him, “What would be one of the first deliverables that you would expect from me.” He replied, “Delivering the project charter.“ “Why the big fuss about delivering a project charter for a small project like a website development project?”, I wondered. However, while working with him on the charter, I realized that even for a project like this, a lot of time and effort is required to prepare a charter.

As Rita Mulcahy writes in one of her prep books for the PMP certification, “Do not underestimate the value of the project charter. It is such an important document that a project should not be started without one. If the project charter serves as a definition of how success will be measured, then without a project charter, the project and project manager cannot be successful”. So let us take a look at the importance of a project charter and what the project charter is all about.

Interested in Project Management? Check out Post Graduate Program In Project Management  to help you get started!

PMP Certification Essential for Senior-Level Roles

PMP Certification Essential for Senior-Level Roles

What is a Project Charter?

The project charter is a document that officially starts a project or a phase. It formally authorizes the existence of the project and provides a reference source for the future. The charter gives a direction and a sense of purpose to the management from start to end. As Randy Tango, a business-driven project practitioner, mentioned in one of his articles: “Take great pride and care in your project charter because this is where you sow the good seeds. It will eventually take care of you.”

A project charter names the project manager and defines the authority of the project manager. It gives the project manager the power to utilize organizational resources to accomplish the project objectives.

Learn more about What is Project Management?

Key Elements of Project Charter 

A project charter is a document that outlines a project's scope, objectives, and stakeholders . It is typically created at the beginning of a project and serves as a roadmap for the project team to follow. Here are the key elements that should be included in a project charter:

How to Create a Project Charter

Creating a project charter involves gathering information, defining project goals, and communicating the details to stakeholders. Here are the steps to create a project charter:

Project Charter Template


Why Do We Need a Project Charter?

As mentioned previously, the primary purpose of a project charter is to authorize the project manager to start the approved project and allow him to use organizational resources to accomplish the objectives of the project.

If the charter is created correctly, it also helps executives see the business value of the project. They can also reference the charter to understand how well the project is aligned with the organizational strategies.

Josh Nankivel, PMP®, a trainer and principal of PMStudent, said that “A project charter should also serve as an executive overview of your project, one that any new executive can reference to evaluate it. A good project charter can help save you from unnecessary scrutiny or having your project shut down because some executives didn’t see the business value in it from their perspective".

Boost Your Digital-age Project Leader Journey

Boost Your Digital-age Project Leader Journey

When Do We Create a Project Charter?

As per the PMBOK® Guide , the project charter is created during the "Define" process. This process is one of the first ones to be performed in a project and is completed during the "Initiating" process domain.

Who Signs and Issues a Project Charter?

The sponsor or the initiator signs the project charter. The PMBOK® Guide, 4th edition (new one) states: “Projects are authorized by someone external to the project such as a sponsor, PMO or portfolio steering committee. The project initiator or sponsor should be at a level that is appropriate for funding the project. They will either create the project charter or delegate that duty to the project manager. The initiator’s signature on the charter authorizes the project”.

It should clearly state who is responsible for funding and who needs to sign the document. Josh Nankivel states in one of his articles, “I have worked with several project managers who ran into funding issues because a particular director or executive who said they would fund a project from their budget didn’t come through. The project charter should clearly state who is responsible for funding, and they need to sign it, too!”

You may be interested in learning about how you can save money when implementing a project .

Can the Project Manager Be Involved in the Preparation of a Project Charter?

Though he is appointed in the project charter, a project manager can still be involved in the preparation of the project charter. The sponsor or the initiator usually creates the charter along with the project management team . The sponsor may lack the skills required to prepare a project charter and may need the help of a Project manager to make a charter.

As Cornelius Fichtner, PMP® trainer and host of the PM Podcast, mentions in one of his articles, “The PM is a subject matter expert when it comes to initiating and starting a project. Hence the PM is more qualified to create the project charter. He or she has more experience in doing this and knows what kind of details to add to the project charter ”.

Some Key Facts to Be Remembered About the Project Charter for the PMP Certification Exam are

PMP Certification Made More Accessible

PMP Certification Made More Accessible

Project Charter Sample Questions

1. the project charter should always include:.

a. The Schedule Management Plan b. Historical Information c. A detailed budget d. The business needs underlying the project

2. In which of the following processes is the project manager assigned his or her role in the project?

a. Initiating b. Planning c. Executing d. Monitoring and Controlling e. Closing

3. Who issues a Project Charter?

a. Customer b. Project Manager c. Any Stakeholder d. Sponsor or initiator

1. Ans d. The project charter should include the business need behind the project.

2. Ans a. The project manager is officially named and assigned to the project charter. The project charter is developed in the develop project charter process in the project integration management knowledge area and the Initiating performance domain.

3. Ans d. The Sponsor or the initiator issues the project charter, not the customer, project manager, or any other stakeholder .

The project charter is an important part of any project wherein it actually accredits the existence of any project and allows the project manager to start the project. To learn more about project charter and several other project management aspects, the PMP® Certification Training  will help you to understand the role of a project manager and how important project charter is.

PMP and PMBOK have registered trademarks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. 

1. What is a project charter?

A project charter is the official document that states that the project exists.It includes goals,resource requirements and scope in detail.

2. Why are project charters useful?

Project charter ensures that all stakeholders are involved in the project and have a clear roadmap of when to start and finish the project. 

3. Who writes the project charter?

Project management team along with the person responsible for ideating the project, write the project charter.

4. What is the difference between a project charter and statement of work?

Statement of work is a derailed document which is legally binding. Whereas project charter is short and non legal in nature. 

5. What is included in a project charter?

Project charter includes your project objectives, scope, and responsibilities.

Find our PMP® Certification Training Online Classroom training classes in top cities:

About the author.


Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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Two Major Documents of Project Management: Project Charter and Project Scope

Two Major Documents of Project Management: Project Charter and Project Scope

Recommended resources.

An Introduction to Project Management: A Beginner’s Guide

An Introduction to Project Management: A Beginner’s Guide

Project Estimation: How Accurate is Your Project Estimation

Project Estimation: How Accurate is Your Project Estimation

Roles and Responsibilities of a Project Manager

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