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Using a Template for Project Charters: Good Idea or Not?

written by: Ronda Bowen • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 11/30/2010

If you've been looking for a simple way to get started on your project charter, you may want to look into downloading some templates. However, not all templates are created equally. What should you look for and where should you look when scouring the internet for a suitable template?

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    Quick Look at the Benefits

    Project charters aren't the most difficult thing in the world to write, so why would someone such as yourself seek out PMI project charter templates? Using templates can make your job a lot easier. For one, you don't have to worry about formatting your document properly. For another, by using a project charter template, you can be sure you haven't left anything out of your document. If you add your own company's specific information to the charter, you can ensure that your job creating project charters is streamlined - and that the same charter format will be used in all departments of your company. Ensure that your project charter is top notch by using a template to streamline your work.

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    What to Look for in a Project Charter Template

    First, you're going to want to make sure that your project charter template contains all the information that should be in there. According to the PMI, a successful project charter needs to include at least the following information:

    • The need for the project within the organization
    • A description of the project
    • A background of the project
    • Any constraints that are involved in the project
    • A stakeholder analysis
    • Project organization notes
    • Project assumptions and methodologies
    • A project risk assessment
    • Budgeting and scheduling estimates

    When you are valuating the proper template for you, make sure that any other information your company uses in project charters is either included or easy to insert.

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    Where to Look for a Project Charter Template

    The first place to look, especially when considering PMI project charter templates, is depending upon your project needs, they offer both a long template and a one-page template for your convenience. Another website for project charter templates is provided by Alex S. Brown and instructions for using it are provided. Finally, if these two templates do not meet your needs, you will also find a copy of a project charter template located conveniently in our Bright Hub Media Gallery.

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    Customizing the Template for Your Needs

    Once you've downloaded your project charter template, you may wish to customize the template to add company information and make it your own. To do this, add a cover sheet with your company logo and any other cover information your company may require, such as project number, approval signatures field, date updated, etc. Then, add any fields that need to be added for your company. Once this is done, you can save the information as a template so that you do not have to enter frequently used information multiple times.

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    Using the Template

    After you have downloaded and customized the template to your satisfaction, you can then use the template to record all of the relevant project information. Be as concise as possible while you cover every needed aspect for the charter. Yes, people do write one-page project charters, and if your company only requires summary information, this may suffice. However, it is more likely that your project charter will run longer than a page. You will know you've adequately covered the information required when you can answer questions about the basic nature of your project by reading the charter, but when you can't give all of the details of the project. As with any business communication, less is often more.

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