Project Charter


The project charter transforms  problems and opportunities into a project. In this lesson, we'll begin developing the first the parts of a project charter: Problem Statement, Scope and Project Objective.

Project Charter

Think of your Project Charter as your compass. The Charter defines your problem, scope, objective, goals and project team. This document guides your project direction and keeps your team focused on meeting the objectives.

Download the The Project Charter and begin to document your problem statement, scope and project objective.

Problem Statement

If you completed the Three Whys template, you have already begun your problem statement. You will start with your answer to "Why am I making a change?" and refine it. Ensure it has each of the 5 key elements of a problem statement.

Key elements of a problem statement:

1. Problem or Opportunity.
    Clearly and concisely outlines the problem or opportunity. Lists the process to be improved.

2. No solutions.
    Remember – a CI project is a problem or opportunity without a defined solution
3. Time-bound.
     When did the problem start or how long it has been occurring? When was the opportunity identified?

4. Impact statement.
     This is the impact to customers, employees and the organization. You can summarize your answer to "Why should others care?" and "Why now?" from the Three Whys Template.

5. Measurement.
    Measurement or quantification of the problem or opportunity (wherever possible). You may not have collected data on the problem. You can always come back and update your project after you've conducted data analysis.


What's IN scope and OUT of scope? Where does this project start/stop? The scope defines the limits of your project.
- Process from beginning to end (initiation to completion)
- Process from step 3 to step 5
- All locations or only locations A and B
- Only the X department

The scope keeps the project team focused on the project at hand.

Scope Creep

Specifically listing your scope in your project charter helps you avoid "scope creep". Scope creep is when your project expands beyond the initial scope to include new deliverables and requirements.

A small, very limited amount of scope creep is expected. When we're starting a project, we do not have the complete story. We have not yet conducted data analysis or completed process mapping. We may need a minor scope adjustment as we further assess the problem. 

If your project begins to expand beyond the initial problem statement or varies significantly from the original scope, your project now has additional risk or "scope creep". Instead of adding new requirements to your project, document these ideas or opportunities in your log and consider tackling them in a future project phase.

Project Objective

The objective is what you plan to accomplish by the end of this project. What does success look like? Remember – focus on what we want to accomplish, not how.

- Increase customer satisfaction
- Reduce cycle time or cost
- Reduce errors or defects
- Improve a key performance indicator
- Develop a standardized process

Treat your charter as a living document. As you meet with your sponsor and stakeholders, and start to get more insights into the problem, go back and adjust your charter as needed, just be careful to avoid scope creep.

Post your problem statement on the forum and we'll give you some feedback!

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