Project Charter for Community Projects
- Project Management

Project Charter for Community Projects

Project Charter for Community Projects is extremely crucial.

Often project sponsors and managers will forego preparing a project charter and execute a very abbreviated version process for this crucial document. And this is because they expect to cover the more salient constraints, parameters, risks, and so on in the project management plan, which is feasible when dealing with typical projects. However, when dealing with a community-based project with diverse stakeholders with many competing interests and various levels of permitting requirements from public agencies, there must be a lot of upfront detailed research. And the best place to log, as well as assess all the research data, is by utilizing the project charter.

The project charter, for example, contains basic project information, which allows an organization the ability to effectively evaluate the viability and profitability of a proposed project, as well as identify the following critical success factors:

  • High-level risks, which could include permitting prerequisites, as well as repercussions for not achieving project goals
  • Stakeholders who can make or break the project, including politicians involved
  • A high-level budget will determine how much funding is required from grants, private donors, and corporate donors and whether acquiring this funding is feasible.
  • High-level schedule, which is critical for satisfying grant requirements in many cases. In other words, many grants require that a project be done by a certain time and do not allow for schedule extensions.
  • Resource: though not expressly detailed, community-based projects require volunteer involvement, as well as participation from various community activists, leaders, and other members. Therefore, it is important to secure their availability early on.

In addition to the benefits listed above in preparing a thorough project charter, such as identifying many critical risks, it will also make it easier to prepare a project management plan since a lot of the information will dovetail into the plan since it is more detailed than usual. Furthermore, a thorough project charter with graphs and a clear vision for project success, is that it can be used for fundraising, outreach in the community, and engaging volunteers and other working stakeholders early on. And since the project charter is a brief document, it makes it much easier to review and gather the more important project facts.

In general, as a PMP, I always prepare a project charter. It can sometimes be a one-page document; other times, it is more substantial, depending on the project’s complexity and my familiarity with and completeness of the scope. In other words, I trust that my client and sponsor have vetted the basic project requirements and my work can focus on addressing their statement of work expectations and other project components.

However, when dealing with community-based projects, as a project manager, I often carry out some or many of the tasks that a client would have performed in private sector projects. This is partly because many community-based project clients and sponsors provide the project vision and perform their work for free. However, they may not have the technical or managerial expertise to develop a charter and detailed scope or statement of work. Therefore, as a project manager, it is critical to spend the extra effort developing a solid charter.

Project Charter for Community Projects

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