What Is A Team Charter? Definition, How To Write And Create

Have you ever experienced conflict on a team? If yes, then you must know that actions and disagreements happen frequently.

In most cases, they all relate to the same thing, including miscommunications and misunderstandings. Somebody did not realize something was their responsibility, and somebody did not understand the norms of a group.

Wouldn’t it be great if you wanted your team to have one sole source of truth that you could use to align your expectations with? That is precisely what team charter is all about.

A team charter is a document that spells out the details of the team, whether it is a legal department or a team assembled for a specific project.

Some project charters are shortened, simply acting as a straightforward directory for all the team members, while others are complex and dig deep into the team’s core values.

Benefits of using a team charter

Shared vision

The team charter establishes a perfect version of the project’s success. Without it, each person on the project team is updated with their definition, which might be drastically different for each person especially if you have a project team with a diverse background of experience and technical and non-technical skill sets.

Clear milestones

Developing a clear statement of scope and high-level milestones is essential to everyone on the team. While the vision helps to give everybody a high-level target to aim towards, the scope statement articulates what the result will look like

Better communications

The team charter also helps to clear up the communication lines between the team members and the stakeholders. It does this in part through the roles and responsibility matrices, and it also does so by clearly articulating who speaks to whom, why, when, and how. In any project, there will be some lines of communication that will streamline everything on the project.

What Is a Team Charter?

A team charter is a document that a team creates to highlight all the focus and direction points. Establishing this data and writing can provide perfect clarity to all the team members and those within the company. Team members include the information mentioned here.

  • Team purpose: It includes why the team is working together on the problem they are looking forward to solving and an acceptable outcome.

  • Time commitment and duration: It is time the team might require the members to work and for how long.

  • Scope: It refers to all the tasks the team would be responsible for managing.
  • Members are the names of the individuals working on the team.

  • Ideal result: It describes the desired outcome for the project undertaking for which the team would be responsible.

  • Supporting resources: These essential resources help the team achieve all the objectives, like other professionals and meeting rooms.

  • Reporting plan: It is a strategy for communicating progress to the higher authority in the company.

  • Deliverables are the teams’ outputs, like the critical performance indicators documents and auditing processes.

  • Link: These describe other departments which are contributing to the team’s objective or impact in some or the other way.

Importance Of A Team Charter

A team charter can work as a road map for the team, guiding them through various stages to achieve an objective. Teams can use the document to delegate all the responsibilities and define the member’s role.

A charter can also help the teams sustain all the progress and accomplish the long-term objectives even through significant transitions.

These charts can quickly clarify the confusion about the role of a person in the project all the process. It helps the team members and the management create a deadline for all the steps involved in the project or the process, and also, they can learn when to execute them.

This document helps the teams understand and meet the deadlines to ensure that the project is going perfectly per the plan. The project manager can also keep a tab on the team charter and create a blueprint of the team’s objectives.

The document can also include the organization’s expectations from the project and the group’s workflow.

How To Create And Write A Team Charter?

Steps To Create A Team Charter

  • Gather your team
  • Establish the purpose
  • Do documentation
  • Understand the scope
  • List members
  • Identify the ideal results
  • Add supporting resources
  • Report plan
  • Consider deliverables
  • Consider links

Gather the team first.

The first step would be to plan the team meeting to create the charter. All the team members must be present at the meeting.

It would be best if you involved the entire team in the process. Applying the team as a whole in the process will promote collaboration, show everyone you value their input, and inform them of the project details.

Creating the charter is also a fantastic opportunity to motivate the team for the next project.

Establish the purpose of the team

Begin your charter by understanding the purpose of creating that team for temporary teams. This might relate to just one objective.

For instance, the team’s goal would be to reduce shipping time. Once the team objectives are achieved, they are likely to disband it.

At the same time, some teams have an ongoing purpose, like supporting a continuous process or a specific department.

To understand the meaning of the group, we have to consider the problem the team is trying to overcome and how they might achieve the same.

Document the duration of the time commitment

Now we have to include the duration and the commitment of the team members, and the course is how long the team might work on that project.

For instance, the team might work on the project for nine weeks, and the time commitment includes the percentage of the team members working hours that the team would require.

So, the project might need at least 75% of the members’ time or even 100% of the time.

Understand the scope of the team

Your subsequent work is to understand the scope of the team. The content defines the project’s boundaries or the table’s responsibilities.

For instance, for a delivery team, the delivery routes would be within the size of the project, while the teams they deliver might be out of the size of the project.

You have to consider meeting with the professional who already has the authority over the team to establish some details of the group’s responsibilities.

List some team members.

List the names of all the team members, and you might list them in the hierarchy of order or alphabetically. For example, if you select members with important titles, you would also include all of these.

Identify your ideal end result.

Once you have listed all the team members, you have to identify the result of the team’s effort. It is essential to be specific and realistic.

You have to use the numbers and all the percentages whenever possible. For instance, the ideal result for her team would be to deliver at least 15% more packages in the following month. Experts can easily measure the impact and check whether the team achieved the goal.

Add all your supporting resources.

You need to list all the supporting resources your team requires to achieve the end result. Supportive resources can easily vary by industry organization and the project.

Being a team member, you need to consider essential steps that you need to take and the resources you would require to complete them perfectly.

Some examples of supporting resources include experts different from the team members, the travel budget, corporate authority equipment, or the blueprint.

Have a reporting plan

Your subsequent work as a team is to think about an effective way of reporting the project’s progress. For example, the report might be for the supervisor and the organization leader individuals funding the project.

You need to ask the individuals the team reports to and the preferred method for writing. And when determining the reporting plan, you must also consider the frequency.

For instance, you can provide a weekly documented report outlining all the valuable information posters. At the same time, you might have monthly meetings with the individuals to show them the team’s progress in person.

Identify all the deliverables.

After establishing the reporting plan, you must identify any deliverables, which are the team’s output within the project scope and result from deliberate work.
These items have a specific role in helping your team attain the perfect outcome.
Some ideal examples of deliverables include design drawings proposals besides project reports.

Consider including links

The last section would be to include the links section in the team charter. The section outlines how other departments or teams might have a similar goal to yours or affect the output.

You can also include some expert resources in the specific sector

What Are the Elements of a Team Charter?

Creating a team charter is undoubtedly the first activity for the newly forming team. It helps build team cohesion and trust and gets you off to a quick start, and it is also a great activity to get everyone from the team members and management on the same page.

Some of the items seem pro forma, and you might be tempted to skip the team charter altogether, but you have to do that at your own risk.

Hashing out all the elements that go in a team charter is one of the best things that you can do for the team, and that is before any of the actual work even gets started.

A perfectly developed team charter creates perfect expectations and can also solve problems that frequently pop up during a project. It might even help keep the issues from forming.

Background

It might look pronounced, but starting with your origin helps set the tone, and having a key stakeholder discuss the problem while the team is formed.

The team is asked to solve how the issue affects the organization’s goals and objectives and the consequences of letting the problem go unchecked.

When the questions are answered upfront, the teams and the management also see how the team contributes to the big picture.

It lays the groundwork to see how the team is aligning with the mission and objectives of the group, which follows next.

In the team charter, you should always include the doubts and unknowns as this is the right time to field new opinions and include other voices in the conversation upfront, which generates real buy-in for the work coming forward. You indeed benefit when you start with the background, as you now have a team that knows the contributions are valid. You are off to a perfect start.

Missions and objectives

The mission statement communicates what the team is setting out to achieve. You want it to be clear and memorable but specific enough to guide the team members as they get to work.

You should have a three-sentence mission statement containing the critical information the team needs. The three statements include who is doing what and for whom and what successful project completion looks like.

The last statement should be the work’s business justification or expected benefit.
Once the mission is completely set, you must list all the interim objectives and goals that must be attained to project success.

Whether you call them milestones, objectives, or outcomes, they are some of the essential elements of the team charter. You have to check if the goals are specific, measurable, attainable, and relevant for

Also, you need to check if everyone agrees or not. If you accomplish this objective, you will make a difference in your success. A clear mission of the objective section is the foundation for the rest of the team charter, and its importance cannot be overstated.

It works as a bedrock for resource allocation and budget and drives the number and type of members you are assigned to the team. It serves as a clear picture of what the project’s success even looks like

It is moving the goalposts once the project is underway, usually with minimum acknowledgment of the impact of the headcount and the budget or the headlines.

Budget and resources

Once you have a clear picture of the project’s success, it is time for you to put the company’s money where its mouth is.

It means it is time to align the funding and other projects against the objectives you have outlined. There are two basic approaches here: working top-down from a more or less fixed amount handed to you or working bottom-up, looking for project line items and figuring expenses.

It would be a very dull task, but it is essential. Your ability to reach the project objectives depends on getting the people, equipment, and materials important for the project.
If you are underfunded, then you at least know it upfront, and you can change the project objectives as per the budget.

There is nothing more important than the clarity of marrying the project outcomes with the budget, whether you are just the team member on the hook for producing the results or the sponsor of the project signing the check knowing that the money is available and what it pays for gives you a freedom to another level.

Roles and responsibilities

Defining all the roles and responsibilities for the project overall and in support of the specific objectives and a vital component of the team charter.

A significant role and responsibilities matrix will outline who would be responsible for the project management activities, the key stakeholders in which areas, and which executive sponsor would be beside the individual team member accountable for the deliverables.

Some of the questions you need to consider as you walk through the matrices include whether there are any additional skills or expertise that we need for the project’s success or whether there are any other teams or individuals that need to be represented or consulted during the project.

Being diligent here can really pay off, and finding a filling, the holes, skills, and expertise become extremely easy when a matrix clarifies what the team members bring to the table. Adjusting budget or deadlines now means a smooth project after signing off.

Being extra thoughtful and deliberate as you pick the team can also pay all the dividends, even though many couples are formed by default due to the location or function.

Understanding how to select systematically for competency in the team is one of the perfect assets that you can have as a business leader, and adaptability is also essential.

Team operations

It is a section where you can just clarify how the work gets done, and having consistent processes and procedures that everyone has agreed to helps your team to be on schedule and productive.

To get started, you have to identify all the recurring activities that would benefit from a clearly defined documented process.

Ideally, this means that you have to meet the deadlines for the decision-making process, conflict resolution process, and how the work is to be distributed among the members.

Defining the best practices for how the work of the team gets done gets everyone on a similar page and helps contain team fragmentation to a great extent.

Alignment around the team operation frees the team to take on the challenges of the project by themselves, and it is essential for a high-performing team.

Team member assessment

Above, you just learned how to get a clear picture of project success, but here you are explicit about what success looks like for every team member and how the performance would be calculated.

Questions to ask yourself and the team might include will the success of the project and the individual contribution be factored in the annual review or how the work on the project tie in with the work objectives.

It would be best if you also considered adding peer-to-peer and self-evaluation elements to the team member assessments.

The tabulated result from those evaluations can become a beneficial factor for team training. You have to consider some variations like how effective the team’s collaboration has been and did the majority of the team members participated consistently.

Signatures and approvals

This would be the last part, but it is not the least, as your team charter should close with a signature field with a spot for every team member to actually sign.

The signature ensures that the team member understands and agrees with the details of the charter, and the formal approval of the charter by the project sponsor gives official blessings to the team’s objectives and deliverables.

The definition of successful official signatures suggests the actual signature instead of the e-mail-based comments.

Conclusion

It is highly recommended to create a team charter to collectively define the team’s purpose by clarifying the factors that will lead to success for the team and the team objectives.

The team charter works like an unobstructed vision for the team, helping to get a clear idea of why the team exists and all the focus. It serves as the touchstone for decision-making and also for day-to-day behavior.

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