Why a Project Charter Works
Do you know what the vision of your project is–the goal of your project? You might know your iteration’s goal. You might know what each feature needs. But do you know the goal for your project?
There are two necessary pieces of information in a project charter: the vision and release criteria. The vision explains why the team is working on this project. The release criteria explains what “done” means for the project.>Here is one vision: “Fix the mess so people buy this product again.” Okay, that’s a vision. It’s not compelling, and it blames the previous project team. Contrast that with this vision: “Reduce technical debt by 10% and increase performance by 20%.” Not only is that vision compelling, it starts to create release criteria.
If you’re starting a new project, a vision might be “Create this new service, so people can pay without pulling out their wallets.” That’s a compelling vision! Or, “Embed automatic reordering of milk into this refrigerator.” I’ve always wanted something like this in my kitchen.
When you use a vision statement in your project charter, you help the project team and the sponsors understand the value of your project. You help guide everyone on the project team to making better decisions, day in and day out.
Add the idea of release criteria to your vision, and not only do you know the value of the project, you also know when you are done. I like release criteria that are about the entire product, not just quality. Sometimes, what matters most is the date. “We need to release this product by June 30. We will get to done, working in iterations, finishing as we go, until June 30. We will release to the public on July 1, no matter what!”
If you use release trains, you are familiar with the concept of the date as release criteria. You may have other criteria, such as performance scenarios, or marketing collateral being complete, or other dependencies being done.
When you write these down in a project charter, the entire team knows the value of the project through the vision and what done means.
You can always add more to the charter. With a vision you know where you are headed. With release criteria, you know when you are done. Use the charter to start your project right.
If you want to learn more about project chartering, please see Manage It! Your Guide to Modern, Pragmatic Project Management.
Join my workshops in London, May 16 and 17
If you would like to learn more about starting your project right, join me in London May 16. I’ll be leading an interactive workshop, Starting Your Agile Project Right!
On May 17, I’ll be leading an experiential coaching Master Class, Coaching for Leaders: Exploring All Coaching Stances. You can take just one workshop or join me for both at a substantial discount. The early bird discount expires on May 1. Please sign up now.
I hope you decide to join me.
Where Johanna is Speaking
I’ll be at Let’s Test, in Sweden the week of May 20, 2013.
I’ll be at Agile Development/Better Software the week of June 2, 2013 in Las Vegas.
Do you know about the AYEQuartet and ChangeArtistry 2013? It’s open to those of you who have studied experientially.
Are you new to the Pragmatic Manager newsletter? See previous issues.
I’ve been writing articles like crazy this year. I’ll be posting the recent articles over the next week or two. If you see one that interests you and you would like me to speak about it, let me know.
I keep my blogs current with my writings: Managing Product Development, Hiring Technical People, and Create an Adaptable Life.
copyright 2013 Johanna Rothman