Pros and Cons of a Project Charter

by Kristyn Hammond; Updated September 26, 2017
Project charters are an important business tool.

A project charter is your first step in organizing the responsibilities of a larger operation. It includes the identification of your vision, project organization, plan for implementation and your list of risks and concerns, as per Method123.com. It is also a tool for directing the actions of numerous people; however, this tool has advantages and notable disadvantages.

Singular Vision

An effective project charter provides your team with a well-stated goal toward completion. It is available for reference by your team and answers many of their standard questions regarding your project and your expectations for approach. Within your group, it serves as a reference when you are unavailable and helps minimize the redirection of your time toward covering the major topics and points of your project repeatedly throughout the process.

Expected Problems

Few projects ever run from beginning to completion without complications. When designing your charter, you are forced to consider the potential risks and concerns that you might expect to occur. By designing a thoroughly thought out charter, you address these problems and establish a careful plan for solving these issues before the project begins. Your team has a reference of these problems, along with specific solutions, reducing project delays based on common or projected complications.

Unexpected Problems

As a project manager, you are never able to accurately predict every potential complication -- and even common complications are not realized in the manner in which you did predict. When addressing an unpredicted complication, your team may tend to rely on your instruction to find a solution when they cannot find one in your charter. This increases their reliance on you and requires more of your personal attention toward problem solving at the cost of your other responsibilities. When complications present in odd ways, your predicted solution may not be adequate to address the issue, which represents a delay in your project while your team attempts your original solution.

Ignored Vision

Project teams work under new project visions every time they complete a project and move on to a new one. Classic visions, which include motivational attempts written in vague forms, are ignorable by experienced team members. Statements such as “together we can succeed” or “there’s no 'I' in team” may sound catchy during charter construction but they are essentially empty, and tell your team nothing about your expectations or project goals. Worse, they are insulting to experienced employees who are already self-motivated and ready to get started on your new project.

About the Author

Kristyn Hammond has been teaching freshman college composition at the university level since 2010. She has experience teaching developmental writing, freshman composition, and freshman composition and research. She currently resides in Central Texas where she works for a small university in the Texas A&M system of schools.

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