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Six Sigma Project Charter - Vitality and Utility

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Jean Scheid • updated: 7/6/2011

A well-conceived and comprehensive Project Charter, true to its character, is indispensable for the successful implementation of any Sigma Six project within the time frame and without cost overruns.

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    For those who may not be aware, a well-conceived project charter is the first prerequisite for any Six Sigma project. The basic purpose of project charter is to create a macro view of the project and to explicitly let the management and the Six Sigma team know about the project goals. That apart, project charter also helps to guide the project team regarding the methodology to be adopted and to measure progress from time to time.

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    Usefulness of Project Charter

    • Defines roles and responsibilities of the team members
    • Provides estimated costs and helps monitor spending
    • Lays down the methodology to be pursued for successful project completion
    • Sets out a timetable for review meetings and to take stock of developments
    • Demands accountability from team members, team leaders, sponsors and all others who are involved
    • By approving the project charter, the process owner assumes responsibility for providing resources.

    In short, project charter is an invaluable document that spells out project expectations and project goals. However, it is also important to know that the project charter does not offer solutions to various problems that may arise during project implementation.

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    Components of project charter

    A standard project charter, for it to serve the purpose for which it is intended, must unambiguously let know the project management, team members and others involved in the project answers to the following crucial questions:

    • Is the project truly necessary?
    • What benefits the project, when completed, will fetch the customers?
    • Is the project going to help in any way employees or the company at large?
    • Is it necessary to undertake the project now or will there be any adverse repercussions if the project is postponed?
    • Will the project work impede business operations and affect business goals?
    • What are the end objectives of the project and how practical are they?
    • What is the overall time frame and how to measure progress?
    • Is the project cost-effective and what are the cost-benefit advantages?

    The project charter must also highlight the critical success factors to aid the team members pursue the right track.

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    What are Six Sigma Projects?

    Six Sigma projects, simply stated, is a process through which companies are able to minimize, if not totally eliminate, the existing shortcomings and improve the quality of all the critical business-centric processes. Any Six Sigma project, for it to fully succeed, must clearly address some critical areas such as - end objectives, management commitment and lasting support and competence of the Six Sigma teams working on the project.

    For ensuring the success of Six Sigma projects, the three vital ingredients are - a well defined project charter, a statement of all anticipated problems and last but not least in importance, a mission statement.

    By studying the project charter, the problem statements and mission statement, the project managers and team members will obtain a comprehensive idea about the Six Sigma project, what needs to be done, and when and how. These documents will aid successful project implementation, within the expected time frame and budgetary limits.

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