Episode 3: What is a Project Charter?

Everyone’s buzzword right now is overwhelm and it’s no secret that project management is designed to prevent that. But let’s face it, there are a LOT of moving parts to project management, so if not done well, can add to your stress rather than mitigate it.

On this episode of the ONE BURNING QUESTION, I introduce a tool you should use before you ever get started with the tasks, the schedule, or especially the spending. You can listen by clicking the picture or read the show notes below.

If you stick with this microcast, and I hope you do, You will probably hear me say a million times – WRITE IT DOWN.

There are miraculous properties in WRITING DOWN what you think you already know. Great coaches like Marie Forleo, Michael Hyatt, and Tony Robbins never go anywhere without a journal or notebook.

Writing things down not only gives your brain more room to actually process the information you’re writing down, but you’re working both sides of your brain when you recall, reflect, then write you are working on. You are actually exercising your brain for future use. It helps you stay sharp.

Too often in my career, I’ve seen people attempt to solve problems or achieve objectives through sheer hard work. That’s commendable – who doesn’t love a hard worker? Obviously, a solid work ethic is extremely valuable, but sometimes, hard work only pushes through a problem with more productivity, but doesn’t improve, mitigate, or solve a problem. You just learn how to work harder next time the same problem comes up.

I firmly believe that when you create a plan, involving inputs from others, and exploring other possibilities, you get laser-focused and your likelihood for success increases when you create a plan.

Enter the Project Charter.

A project charter is a document that memorializes decisions made on the direction, budget, team, resources, purpose, scope, metrics, roles, and challenges. It’s usually the first step to project management once you’ve decided move forward.

Let’s say you’ve decided to launch a course or introduce a new product line. You could simply post the new product on your webpage and do some social media and add some killer SEO and call it done.

You might even do a few facebook ads and pinterest marketing. And that’s one approach, but what the project charter does, if you are a solo preneuer is help you plan and anticipate so you can decide if you really want to move forward with the project to begin with. It’s the tiniest project management tool to make sure you’re not putting all the carts before the horses. Or the benjamens before the washingtons.

If you use the project charter with a team, then a project charter will help ensure that everyone who is part of the project has had the chance to provide the inputs so they can commit to using their capacity toward the success of the project.

There are several parts to a project charter and I’m going to break them down for you. AND, did I mention that if you sign up for my email list, you will get your own template on day 2? I didn’t mention that?

Head on over to vimandvigor.biz/operationspack and sign up. You are going to get so many awesome tools – this is just one of them!

Project Name

Obvious, but give it a name. Be inspired.

Champion

Might be up a level might be you. Choose this person wisely! They will need to support you and keep you accountable. They will need to be strong enough to tell you your baby is ugly but compassionate enough to deliver the news gracefully.

Project Lead

This is you. YOU are leading this. Do you appreciate what this means? Don’t pencil whip this. You are leading something great. If it’s not great, why are you doing it? What does leading this project mean to you? What kind of leader are you going to be if this thing goes south? What kind of leader will you be when it is beyond successful? Don’t just type your name into the box. Let this sink in a little.

Team

Identify anyone who might have a role. This can be tricky. If you are a solopreneur, this may not be so bad, but if you’re on a team of people, and you miss someone’s name, depending on who it is, you may be damaging a relationship unintentionally. On the other hand, think of what the project needs, not what will make the social circle complete.

Problem Statement

What problem or issue are you trying to resolve? One of the tools you get when you subscribe to my email list is a 5 why template and other problem-solving tools. The key to understanding your project is first understanding what problem you’re solving. What is your client or their customers experiencing? What do they want instead? A good problem statement has nothing to do with the solution, but gets down to the root cause of the problem.

If you try to squirrel and solve every ripple effect problem along the way, you’ll have frustrated team members and a very dissatisfied client. Solve the root cause and many of the rippled issues will go away.

PLEASE do not move on with your project until you are super clear about the exact problem you are solving. Your problem statement should ONLY statement the problem, not go into the resolution.

And if you’re lucky, you can assist with the resolution with one of your products or services.

Purpose & Scope

To solve the problem, duh.

But get more granular. Are you increasing revenue or profit margin? Is this project only about increasing visibility in general or to a specific niche audience? Why THIS product or service? Why do you need to get this product or service out into the market vs some other product or service?

Get clear now about that purpose and scope. It is just as important to identify what is NOT part of the project as it is what IS. If you’ve never heard of scope creep, you need to check it out. Listen to Natalie Gingrich’s podcast on Scope Creep HERE.

Resources

What resources do you need from your team? From an external team? What software, will you use? Will you need a printer? A new supplier? A Facebook ad specialist? Does the existing team have the capacity for this? What people, equipment, and time do you need to make this happen?

What are your goals & metrics?

Do you have your goals on a timeline? What measurable components can you put on the questions you are asking yourself in the purpose statement? Which KPI’s are these metrics tied to? What are the success levers that need to be pulled to consider this a successful project? Bottom line – how will you know if this was a successful project that provide a return on its investment –or if it was just a great group of people who got together and worked really hard at something meaningful? To your client – to you as a business owner, there is a big difference.

What are your constraints and challenges?

This is my favorite section. My whole life, I’ve been able to see what could go wrong. And while bullies labeled me as negative nellie or always seeing the glass half empty, what I’ve come to realize is that I have the ability to see what could go wrong so we can change it up and plan for better outcomes. I think that’s a wonderful pet to have.

Ask yourself about all the obstacles that might get in your way. ID how likely they are to happen and the impact to your business if they do happen. Create a surface plan to mitigate each of the challenges – even if you only outline them? It’s best to understand if your obstacles are getting huge or if they’re only huge in your head.

Budget

What is your budget? Set it in stone. Expenses will add up quickly. If the budget needs to change, does it need more than your review? Decide this ahead of time and write it down. What is your justification to the team for adding to the budget in one area but not another?

Roles & Authority

It is so important that everyone knows whether they are in input mode or decision mode. What are the expectations of each team member? How will you reward them and celebrate? Are they bought in to the project? Have they committed?

The beauty of the charter is you can add or replace any of these elements with themes that are important to you. Maybe you include a section on how decisions will be made. Or an escalation process. Or the value sets. These are the most used elements, but add your own that are essential to your business.

And remember, If you’d like a project charter template, visit ,vimandvigor.biz/operationspack and over the next few days you’ll get the project charter and other free templates right to your mailbox.

I hope you found this week’s episode and blog useful. Don’t forget to tell me what you think! What elements would you add?

The Project Charter Template I’ve given you will help you jump start your next project. If you want to begin working together to build a project plan, ,schedule a call. We’ll talk for fifteen minutes or so to see how I can help.

Today’s One Burning Question is brought to you by the Vim & Vigor Quiz. It takes 7 minutes to find out if you’re driven but overwhelmed, want to grow but don’t know where to start, or have no idea what kind of operational goodness you’re missing. If you want to improve your customer experience, create KPIs to help drive revenue, or you’re tired of handling the business and want to get back to what you love, I hope you visit ,vimandvigor.com/quiz or schedule a call today.

Please join me in our private Facebook group ,Small Business Confidants where we come together to join, share, plan, create, and give.

So, what’s YOUR One Burning Question? Send it to ,info@vimandvigor.biz and it might just get on a future episode.

Click ,HERE for more about your host, Kass Fogle.

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