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Topics: Agile
Project Charter and Small Projects
I am having a bit of an issue here; on one hand, I would like to create a project charter for all my small projects but am having an issue justifying the time put in to developing a PC if the project is small in scope (take a small process automation improvement for example). I receive written/verbal approval for all my projects.

Anyone have words of advice? I understand the importance, but working for a small company has its challenges with balancing resources and capacity.
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I suggest that you create Project Charters for all your project, but keep the amount of text/information in the charter low when the project is small and uncontroversial.

Having a formal document stating your authority to run the project, your authority to use resources and the project vision is very valuable. If the company sees it as unnecessary work strip it down to half a page and it will not be much work at all to create it.
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1 reply by Opeyemi Iyekolo
Feb 26, 2018 4:13 AM
Opeyemi Iyekolo
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Excellent response Tom. It's all about tailoring project management to suit the degree of complexity and rigour required for specific projects
Do not start w/o a PC that justifies, explains and ultimately authorizes the project within your organisation. Fully agree with Tom to keep it short - barely sufficient is just good enough. A one-pager is sufficient to make the organisation aware.
It's good practice to capture a PC. You can spin a one-pager up in 5 minutes if you already know what is needed to do, why it's needed to be done, and who you'll be resourcing to do it. Feel free to PM me for a very simple template. I am willing to share.
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1 reply by Darin Ruud
Oct 20, 2017 11:59 AM
Darin Ruud
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I have reached out to you on LinkedIn-- I would be happy to get what you have if you are willing to share it.
This is quite normal in smaller organizations. Look at the value the PC should give for determining what to do. Typically, among others it somehow clarifies the scope, the sponsor who'll ultimately approve what you /the project is going to deliver and the ressources you can use. If nothing of this ever is an issue and you start a project with a clear understanding of these things and never afterwards find that people "remembered" agreements differently, than maybe just write up a memo of the meeting that started the project for you (not the kick-off with the team, but the one, where you got your marching orders) and distribute accordingly. Also, though each of those "projects" may be unique regarding the technical solution, they could be daily business for your department and therefore not formally require a PC. However, they still require that you understand the scope, final customer and budget constraints that come with your marching orders....
Hi Jeff - this is normal for the large corporation I work in as well as for smaller organizations. When this is the scenario, we use what is called a Project Charter - Lite. We also have a Business Case - Lite that we use. Much smaller documents, a better fit and the best use of our time as PM's. All the advice from my peers so far on this is great! Sounds like Mikel has a template to share!
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2 replies by Darin Ruud and Mikel Steadman
Aug 18, 2017 2:42 PM
Mikel Steadman
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Yes. I am willing to share. Connect with me on LinkedIN and give me a good email, and I will send along what I use. It's not spectacular, but it's lean and effective for me and my projects.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikelsteadman
Oct 20, 2017 11:52 AM
Darin Ruud
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This is exactly what our Org is looking for "Light". DO you have "light" templates you have developed and can share?
Jeff, you've got a solid collection of responses here.

Essentially, either way, there should be some formal document around the work to be done. The larger the initiative, the more formal the document. Use templates based on whatever size criteria you determine to be most sensible. Regardless, you will have a PC for each project, sized and completed with the right information in accordance with the effort. And to note, there will be a consistent process in place for others to follow.
Hi Jeff,

You should create Project Charter (PC) although the project is small and maybe the company you work for is small too. It will prevent you from future headache :), believe me i have been there..

Like others suggestion above, you have to make your own template of project charter that fits to your organization. In fact i have two project charter template. One is for the big complex project and company, and the other is one page-simple project charter for the small project and small company. I use it all the time and it works :)

Good luck!

I think it is mandatory to create a project charter. It should not take more than 2 hours to create a project charter for a small project.


For small projects we use a one page project charter. But we never, never start a project without project charter. Why? Because the project charter is the contract between us and our project stakeholders. What we stated at mininum is: 1-Why we need the project? 2-Project requirements. 3-Project deliverables. 4-Project objectives. 5-Project critical success factors. 6-Project assumptions. 7-Project restrictions. 8-What is included. 9-What is not included. 10-Organizational areas impacted/Key stakehoders included.
I agree with all previous feedbacks. In my organization we use a PDS (Project Description Sheet) that reflects all we we need to agree on with our clients and management before launching the project like in a full Project Charter.
This PDS has a standard format for all "small" projects and is documented in .ppt format so that is is easier to share during kick-off and as necessary. As it is a "deliverable" we associate an Acceptance Form to document the approvals.
In any case you must have such a "Project Charter" before starting.
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