First artifact that project needs are project charter. Here we explain What’s and Why’s about project charter. This is another post from the project management series. The post is based on a remarkable book written by Johanna Rothman, Manage It!
Johanna states that the project charter’s purpose is to share decisions that the project manager had done so far. Remember from our previous posts, that the project manager’s first task is to agree with sponsor project drivers and constraints in the form of a priority matrix. In the project charter, your list and share that data so everybody on a project is on the same page. Project charter helps you to uncover project issues in this early stage.
Johannas project charter template could be applied to all project cycles. The amount of information would vary, but the purpose is the same.
Here is a project charter template:
- Success Criteria
- ROI estimate
These paragraphs will not provide information to team members on what to actually do or how to organize a project. But it is a start.
Vision is simple the reasons for your project. When you state the reasons for a project early, you will get valuable input from project members. For example, let’s make a Machine Learning system that would do UI regression testing 100% practical. Other members could say Hey, but this is not possible, backing that statement up with detailed information; why is it not possible. Or when you can not agree on project reasons, then you could be doing an impossible project.
An example is to create a modern web application that would enable software testers to do session-based test management collaboratively.
By now, you know about drivers, this should be one or maximal two top priorities and everything else on the project should be about fulfilling these drivers. Here you share project driver with the team.
For example, the ship first releases in Q2.
Goals are sponsor or project team expectations that are not paid (backed up) by the project sponsor. These are the goals. For example, the team would like to do example mapping or unit testing with 95% statement coverage. Or customer expectation is the end to end encryption, as helpful to have feature.
Those are capabilities of the product (or service) at the project end. What would a customer be able to do with a product?
For example, a customer would be able to promote session-based test management using this new web platform.
Jhoanna warns us to be careful to put here only success criteria that are in project team control!
The return of investment is an estimation. If you know the project budget, or you can estimate it by knowing team members’ salaries and project duration, this is a good start. Now you must estimate the possible amount of customer revenue using your product.
For session-based management, you could try to estimate the number of users in the first quarter after release.
Johanna’s experience is that the project starts before the project manager thinks that it starts. So you have time to iterate over project charter.