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Topics: Construction
Charter? Business Case?

"We don't need no stinkin' Badges!" Treasure of the Sierra Madre 1948

We are not consulted or handed a business case or Project Charter in our Industry, yet the PMBOK Guide #6 insists on carrying it as an input to most of the ITTO's. Don't you find this ridiculous? In the IT office world, are subordinate PM's handed very secretive, closely held private information like this? This does not happen in my World of Construction..... someone please explain this to me. We don't need no stinkin' Charter!
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The best analogy for a charter is that it is a user manual for all stakeholders of the project. It should cover the project objective, the communication strategy, methods for {conflict resolution, issue handling, risk handling, governance, escalation, and more}, key deliverables, KPIs, project roles and responsibilities, etc.

Once agreed upon by all parties, the charter becomes the guide and the foundation that can be referred to in all project conflicts. It allows for continuity of the project in case team members are changed or added to the project.

A lot of organisations find this information to be implicitly agreed upon at the start of a project. There are more occasions than not, however, when the absence of this foundation document leads to ambiguity and delays and additional cost.

Mr. K -
Thanks for the response. However, you are obviously not a PM in the Construction Industry- we NEVER receive business plans from Owners as part of our Contracts or Scope of Work.
Thus the preponderance of the ITTO's with this Input is exasperating to me.

1 reply by Stephen Karpowich
Feb 01, 2018 9:53 AM
Stephen Karpowich
I think the PMI guidelines are simply suggestions (or strong suggestions). Not every project will follow all the steps outlined and from your description, probably don't require it. If your processes work for you and your organization, then you're doing OK. If you see a gap and think the need is there to improve the process and a charter is the answer then you should probably push for that. It may not be possible, but from your bio, it looks like you've been able to manage.

If you do not create a project charter or business case or any other type of document to achieve the same objectives than those documents you are lost. So, in construction industry, you have them with other names. Take a look to the definitions of those documents and you will find them with other names.On the other side, nobody forces you to follow the PMI way to manage projects or to follow the PMI Guides. It is up to you. Sorry but if you think that some things are ridiculous then you do not understand that or it seems rediculous for you because your environment and you must not follow them.

Sirs -
Once again, I appreciate your response, However you are obviously not in the Construction Business, and I did submit this discussion under the "Construction" heading.
In my Industry, there is no Charter or Business case. Those items are (presumably) generated sometimes years prior to the Requests for Proposal received by the Construction Company.
By the time the PM assignment is made- soon after Contract Award- the " business case" becomes very simple and unstated. The PM's job is to "maximize Profits" for the Company- pretty straightforward. In some cases the Target Net Profit for the Project is given to the PM, and realized based upon the percent of completion- however the Maximize Profits business case? is always in place.
"We" do not create Charters- those tasks are strictly within the Person or Organization acting as the Owner- "we don't need no stinkin' Charter!


What we receive is a very specific scope of work, plans, specs, etc. I do not consider these as a Charter- and a Charter is unnecessary for our Project.


Your stuck on the word "Charter" Mark. This is the name PMI gives it for want of a better word, and it is used in the general PM world. However, just for a minute, forget the word Charter, and replace it with any document name that is signed by the sponsor/customer/owner that authorizes the PM to begin the project based on the high level detail in that same document.

Maybe some of the suggestions above fit? What types of documents are shared with you prior to your engagement? Possibly that is, in effect, the 'Charter' - initiating your work. I had not thought about the BC or PC as secret/private/sensitive documents. At least that is my experience, though I am not in construction.

Where's Rami :)

Boiled down a charter provides a high level overview of the desired end state and authorizes the project manager to achieve that end state. I would be surprised if nothing like this exists even if it is an email from a sufficiently senior decision maker.

A rose by any other name...

I have dealt a number of construction projects and there is always a charter (rose) which describes who is responsible for what, project objectives and authorize project manager to commit organization resources.
Maybe where you work, it is a verbal understanding but it is wise to have a written document which describes the objectives of the project.

I worked in construction project including one was awarded with the PMI Project of the Year. Sorry Mark but you do not understand the basic. You are closing your mind in the word, not into the objective. No problem. I understood that I must not participate into any post you open in the future.
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