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Key thing here is to put clear the vision about the project. If your CEO vision is "growth in market share by 5% in the current year" you are lost due to the vision will be achieved thanks the product/service/result to be created by the project and the project manager is not accountable for product/service/result definition (product requirements). Project manager is accountable for project requirements (activities to create the product as defined, in the time needed, with the expected cost, according to desires and wants - quality). When that on hand, you can create a simple scope statement or charter with the following items (not more than one page in the begining):
8. Business Case Summary
8.1.1 Why are we doing this project?
8.1.2 What is the business impact of not doing this project?
8.1.3 What are the project alternatives that were considered?
8.2 Project success criteria
3.1 What is in the scope?
3.2 What is not in the scope?
4. Key assumptions and constraints
4.1 What are the key assumptions?
4.2 What are the key constraints?
4.3 What are the identified project dependencies?
4.4 What are projects and business activities depending on this project?
5.Timeline and Milestones
6. Resource requirements
6.1 Level of business involvement required during each phase
6.3 Internal vs. external resource involvement
7. Risk Management
7.1 List high impact and high probability risks
Interesting your question
Thanks for sharing
What, in my opinion, is the Project Charter:
Document issued by the sponsor or the person responsible for initiating the project
Formally authorizes the existence of a project
Provides the project manager with authority to apply organizational resources to project activities
What it should contain:
Documents high-level information about the project and the product, service or result that the project must satisfy, such as:
Purpose of the project
Measurable project objectives and related success criteria
High level requirements
High-level description of the project, its limits and key deliverables
General project risk
Milestones schedule summary
Pre-approved financial resources
List of key stakeholders
Project approval requirements
Criteria for project completion
Project manager, responsibility and level of authority
Name and authority of the sponsor or other persons who authorize the project charter
Few additional topics to consider.
A) Project Governance and Issues Resolution
B) Stakeholder Identification
C) Roles and Responsibilities
D) Reporting Requirements
E) Level of Effort
F) Project Authorities
G) Project Delivery Approach
And given that you are presenting it to a CEO, remember that brevity is appreciated, so if you can restrict it to 1-2 pages, that would be best!
When writing a project charter, it is important to consider how it is used. It does provide authorization for you to do work and expend resources within the written boundaries.
It also serves as a tool to get help from the sponsor to obtain the resources you need. Sometimes you know that some organizations within your company are always reluctant to provide support. By specifying who outside your team must support, you now have written authorization from your CEO that they shall.
This might seem like a fine point, but much like you described how your sponsor sometimes forgets things or changes his mind, it can have other functions as well like ensuring that typically problematic people know their support is not optional. Careful wording can help you address those types of issues as well.
It sounds like your CEO would be a perfect candidate to turn to Agile methodologies of Project Management, breaking up his ideas into smaller packages and transforming those packages into sprints that result in usable products will help him make up his mind on what he wants and needs.
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