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Topics: Change Management, Integration Management, PMI Standards
Project Charter Changes


I'm wondering what your thoughts are on changes to a project charter; should it be updated? How often? Are some small changes unnecessary to formally change?

I know the scope baseline is the benchmark. But what if a change request is processed that changes what was originally signed off on in the project charter? Or what if a position changes such as the Project Sponsor or Project Manager assigned to the project?

Looking forward to hearing everyone's feedback.
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There are many questions here. During the project there may be a change control system to allow changes, and these can be facilitated through a Change Control Board for example. But when it come to the Project Charter, only the Sponsor can authorize any change to that document, as they are the ones who signed off.

Owen -

I'm a purist when it comes to the charter. In many companies, they have increased the content in a charter beyond what its original rationale or purpose was. If it is truly that 1-2 page "why are we doing this project and what do we hope to achieve" authorization then if there is a significant enough change which warrants the charter to be revised, I'd consider that a new project - terminate the old one, and justify the existence of the new one.

Outside of that magnitude of a change, I'd focus on keeping downstream PM artifacts like the PM Plan up to date through change control.


Is like any other change into any other project deliverable. It will be determined based on your project change management process. Project Charter is "the contract" between all project stakeholders, mainly key project stakeholders, then your project change management process will determine that after impact analysis how other things inside the project must be updated due to forward traceability. It could be a change into the document itself and in the extreme it could be the whole project must be killed.

Thanks for the quick replies, gents.

Kiron, I agree with you that it seems like we've been trying to cram so much into the Charter. My understanding is that the main purpose of the Charter is to authorize the project, not outline the scope.

As Sante said, the Sponsor would have to sign any Charter amendment, but I do wonder if documenting these changes really are worth it (seeing as the project has already been authorized).

Very good question Owen.

Considering there are sometimes necessary changes in project charters I think we have to put special attention to this change management process.

We have to be careful that this changes are not a "distortion" of the previous information; in other words: these changes must bring a better understanding to the project team about the project and the products to be delivered as part of the project.

If due to this Change we are speaking of "something else" or "something very different" then... let's be purist too, like Kiron says, and terminate the Old project in order to start the New one.

Where does these changes to PC come from? Sponsor? Business analysts? SMEs?

Are they technical changes to the Product or maybe "just" results of a different Strategy of the organization?

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