Project charter – A high level pre-design document

by Integrated industrial design, Pre-design

One of the first critical steps in a project life cycle is the preparation of project charter. A project charter is a formal high-level document which specifies the fundamental information regarding the basis of the establishment of the industrial design project. It is prepared during the pre-design phase after the business case has been entrenched and approved. In addition, it justifies the existence of the project in terms of its value to the owners and provides the core requirements and the ultimate policy directions for subsequent activities of the project.

The project charter is the most critical document for all those involved in the project. This is because it provides the project team with high-level scope, objectives, roles and responsibilities, schedule, resources, authority, milestones and organisational structure of the project. Therefore, it is owned by the top management involved in the project. It shall be broad enough and proportionate to the project size so that there are no changes required as the project evolves. However, any subsequent changes, if at all required, needs the approval of the original signatories of the project charter. Moreover, it helps to identify all the potential risks and issues which helps everyone think ahead. In addition, the project charter also has the suggestions for mitigation plans which gives a sign of awareness in the mind of the project stakeholders.

The preparation of project charter consists of the following tasks and the subtasks.

Establish the Project Vision

Establish a Project System

  • Identify Project Participants
  • Analyze Internal & External Customers
  • Determine Stakeholders
  • Classify Resources and their Roles and Responsibilities
  • Establish Organisational Structure
  • Finalise Control Policies & Control Authority
  • Identify Facilities and Resources required
  • Establish Communication System

Establish an Approach to Implementation

  • Create a Project Budget for the Industrial design project
  • Establish Financial Authority
  • Prepare Implementation Plan
  • Enact Major Project Milestones
  • Establish Dependencies

Evaluate Risks and Suggest Mitigation Plans

  • Identify the Constraints
  • Prepare List of Assumptions
  • Finally, prepare Risk Mitigation Plans

In conclusion, the project charter is not only a document that helps in planning industrial design projects but also a communication instrument that acts as a reference. Thus, a well-intended project with an active project charter will bring in success for any project.

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