Project Charter

The words ‘Project Charter’ are used within Lean Six Sigma for the document you deliver as project manager at the end of the first of five phases of your improvement project. The five phases of an improvement project are Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control. These five phases thus form the DMAIC model that has its origins in Six Sigma.

In project management, a project charter is a statement of the scope and objectives of, and the participants in, a project. At the end of the first phase, Define, the project manager (Green Belt or Black Belt training course) delivers a document consisting of ten set components. This explains the status of the project in a short presentation during the so-called tollgate meeting and seeks permission from the client to proceed to the next phase of the project.

The ten components of the Project Charter:

  1. The description of the problem
  2. The objective of the improvement project
  3. The scope of the project
  4. The composition of the improvement team
  5. The business case
  6. The planning
  7. The preconditions
  8. The risks already apparent in the implementation of the improvement project
  9. The name of the client or sponsor
  10. The name of the process owner

Of course, the project also has a project name (which is appropriate and often has a bit of humour).

Completing the Project Charter

In the process of realizing a finalized Project Charter, your role as a project manager entails diligent effort during the Define phase. It’s often revealed that the initial problem description may not entirely cover the actual issue at hand; sometimes, there’s a different or slightly more intricate underlying problem. Thus, the key is to pinpoint and center your attention on the precise problem. This focus is crucial because the aim is to address one problem at a time, serving as the start of a continuous improvement journey. Other issues can be addressed later on.

As you review your Project Charter, consider this question: “Would I personally invest in this project?” Your response to this question will prompt you to take a sharper look and assess whether proceeding with the project is indeed worthwhile. Can you articulate it effectively to your client, and can you rally both yourself and your colleagues to invest the necessary time and effort?