Integration Management

The Role of the Project Charter in Integration Management

Project integration management unfurls with a pivotal step: the Develop Project Charter process. This process breathes life into a document that serves as the formal authorization for a project. It empowers the project manager with the authority to harness organizational resources for project activities. More than just a formality, this process forges a direct link between the project and the strategic objectives of the organization, reflecting the organization's commitment to the project.

The project charter is developed once or at predefined points in the project. It includes inputs such as project statement of work, business case, and agreements, and outputs like the project charter itself. The project charter establishes a partnership between the performing and requesting organizations. For external projects, a formal contract often establishes an agreement, while a project charter can establish internal agreements within an organization.

The project manager is identified and assigned as early as possible in the project, preferably during the development of the project charter. The project charter can be developed by the sponsor or the project manager in collaboration with the initiating entity. This collaboration allows the project manager to better understand the project purpose, objectives, and expected benefits, enabling efficient resource allocation to project activities.

The project charter provides the project manager with the authority to plan, execute, and control the project. Projects are initiated by an external entity such as a sponsor, program, project management office, or a portfolio governing body chairperson or authorized representative. The project initiator or sponsor should be at a level that can secure funding and commit resources to the project.

Projects are initiated due to internal business needs or external influences. These often lead to the creation of a needs analysis, feasibility study, business case, or description of the situation that the project will address. Chartering a project confirms the alignment of the project to the strategy and ongoing work of the organization.

One key point to remember is that a project charter is not a contract—it doesn't involve any consideration or exchange of money during its creation. Rather, it stands as a formal document that validates the existence of a project. It also bestows upon the project manager the authority to utilize organizational resources for project activities.