My understanding is that the Project Charter outlines the goal of the project, who the stakeholders are, and most importantly, authorizes the Project Manager to act on behalf of the sponsor to implement the project -- and defines what the Project Manager's level of authority is.

If the Project Manager is expected to create/draft the Project Charter, isn't that odd for them to document authorizing themselves and defining the boundaries of their own authority on the project. Even if the Project Charter is to be approved by the Sponsor, I find it odd that the PM is the one who is asked to create/draft it.

Am I wrong in thinking that this is an artifact that should be handed over to the PM instead of expecting the PM to draft it?

Any insights on this are appreciated.

Thank you.

  • 1
    This is the norm in every environment that I've worked; the PM prepares the document, the sponsor signs the document. I'd be surprised by anything else.
    – MCW
    Aug 6, 2020 at 16:46

1 Answer 1


Your statement is on point. If the project charter gives authority to the project manager, then the project charter should be handed down to the project manager by the project sponsor. But it's not wrong either if the project manager is the one to write this document.

The key word here is "gives". If the project manager is the one to write the project charter, this does not all of a sudden mean that the project manager "takes" the authority. The project sponsor still needs to give the sign-off. They are ultimately responsible for what's written in there. No sign-off, no authority, no matter what the project charter says.

The project charter is often written by the PM and not the sponsor because it's a skill project managers have and the sponsor (who might be very busy or a really Big Kahuna who can't be bothered with writing such documents) just makes use of that skill and delegates the work to the project manager. The PM works with the sponsor and stakeholders to successfully deliver the project and since the charter is part of the initiation phase of a project, it's something that the PM can handle or help with (and it's often a good thing since the project manager gets a better understanding of the project goals right from the beginning, while things are taking shape, and can contribute their experience).

The PM drafts the project charter, gets feedback from the sponsor, makes changes, comes back for more feedback, rinse and repeat, and when things are to the sponsor's liking, they give their sign-off. If the sponsor just signs in blind faith, well... then they get what they deserve.

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