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What diagrams should be included in a project charter?

In our standard template there is a section for "Implementation approach and methodology", this is where the flow diagrams normally are. The project is mainly front end styling related so it doesn't have many flow changes.

Should a charter include use case diagrams? Are they more relevant in a Requirements document?

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+1 - Interesting question –  jmort253 Feb 15 '11 at 14:59
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7 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Kieran, while reading your question all my hairs stand up!!! Use Cases on a project charter, I am sure that is not unheard, but totally orthodox :).

Why would you want to include these detail at this level?


On your other comment, I see fine that you have implementation approach. Once you have a few PMs in your firm, then you may think to standardize the approach, eliminating the need to establish the approach in every project.

To answer your questions I will put the following diagrams or formulas in a project charter:

  • ROI -- Investment y-axis - Time x-axis - Return y-axis another color
  • Project Cash flow estimate
  • Project total investment over time
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Use case is best put in the requirements and planning documentation. The charter should focus on the project's business goals, high-level outline of the deliverable and ROI.

Keep in mind that the requirements can change and become more refined over the lifecycle of the project. It is the list against which the deliverable will be measured.

The project charter should stay basically static over the lifecycle of the project. It authorizes the project, the project manager and the budget and sets out an expected return. It is the document against which the success of the entire endeavor will be measured.

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This is what PMBOK 4th Ed. says:

"The project chapter is the document that formally authorizes the project. The project chapter provides the project manager with the authority to apply organizational resources to project activities".

I don't think that this document should explain anything to anyone. Remove all diagrams out of it.

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+1 for keeping PMBOK in mind ! –  Chris Jul 18 '11 at 6:40
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I'm mainly just echoing the other comments, but what you are talking about is not a charter. (At least in the PMBOK sense).

It sounds like you are probably talking about a project plan. (Or perhaps a project operations definition document that is not closely associated with any one project).

Keep in mind that there are several steps to project management, each has deliverables and can be broken down to specific chunks of information.

Chartering precedes project planning which includes, but is not identical to, project scheduling.

As someone said above, the charter is about authorization, mission, scope, risks, key personnel, etc. It is not a plan for how to execute. Nor is it the schedule of the execution of that plan.

Keeping the stages and deliverables clear is important to starting the project off with as much clarity as possible. And maintaining clarity is critical to team performance, agility, access to resources, etc.

Good luck with the project!

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Well, I am not sure which project charter template that you are using, but if it is anything like mine then you are going to want to include basically what you are going to need in order to make the project come to fruition.

You may use some use case diagrams if you would like, but basically this is an attractive document that you are putting together before the planning stages of the project that says that you are going to start planning and implementing on the project. Good luck.

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Following are the Most important things to include in the Project Charter.

  1. Problem Statement
  2. Major Phases and Measures of success
  3. Stakeholders, Roles and Responsibilities
  4. Issues, Risks and Assumptions

Move everything else to Inception and later phases.

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I'll echo what others have said; I would not place use cases in a project charter.

The value of the project charter/business case is to attract and keep stakeholder backing. The project charter should focus on value/scope/cost/schedule/value. My project charters have been short (< 5 pages) and emphasize how the project will benefit the stakeholder communities.

I would include diagrams if the diagrams help the stakeholders to understand the concepts.
I would include top level Rough Order of Magnitude estimates of scope/schedule/cost. I might include capabilities/top level deliverables.

I hope that helps.

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