Project Charter Template [Free Download]

Editorial Team

Download this free Project Charter template and use it for your new project. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the download link.

1          Executive Summary

The executive summary should be a high-level summary of what issues or problems the project was created to correct.  Typically, the executive summary also provides the background information and general statements regarding the project’s purpose or justification which will be covered in more detail in the appropriate section(s) of the charter.  The executive summary should include an overview of the agency’s business functions.  This information is usually gathered by the BA and should include a summary of services and/or products delivered, key metrics, agency leadership, employee population and geographical reach.

For the past several years our company intranet has been subject to numerous external breaches because of poor information technology (IT) security measures.  These incidents have resulted in approximately $10 million in damages to the company.  The Intranet Security Assurance (ISA) project has been created to address and correct these security issues and prevent further loss due to external IT security breaches.  The project will integrate improved technology solutions with our current platform in order to establish a more robust security infrastructure.

2          Project Purpose/Justification

This section describes the purpose and justification of the project in the form of business needs and objectives.  The business need should provide the reasoning behind the need for this project as it relates to a function of the business. 

2.1                 Business Need

Discuss the logic for the Business Need (market demand, organizational need, customer request, technological advance, legal requirement, ecological impacts, social need, etc). 

The ISA project has been created to increase organizational IT security in order to prevent further financial damages resulting from external security breaches.  The costs associated with the successful design and implementation of these security measures will be recovered as a result of the anticipated reduction in financial damages.

2.2                 Business Objectives

This section should list the Business Objectives for the project which should support the organizational strategic plan.  This section should also include the intended effects of the business case (i.e. cost savings, process improvement, new product development, etc).

The business objectives for this project are in direct support of our corporate strategic plan to improve IT security and reduce costs associated with loss and waste. 

  • Design and test a new IT security infrastructure within the next 90 days
  • Complete implementation the new IT infrastructure within the next 120 days
  • Reduce the amount of damages by 50% in the first year

3          Project Description

This section provides a high-level description of the project.  This description should not contain too much detail but should provide general information about what the project is, how it will be done, and what it is intended to accomplish.  As the project moves forward the details will be developed, but for the project charter, high-level information is what should be provided.

The ISA project will provide increased security to the company’s IT infrastructure and, more specifically, to the company intranet.  The ISA project will utilize improved technology in the form of security hardware and software in order to prevent external breaches of the company intranet.  All hardware and software will be integrated into the company’s current IT platforms in order to establish increased security while allowing all systems and processes to continue without interruption. 

3.1                 Scope Statement

The scope statement is a general paragraph which highlights what the project will include any high-level resource or requirement descriptions, and what will constitute completion of the project.  This scope statement is exactly that: preliminary.  All of this information will be expanded upon in greater detail as the project moves forward and undergoes progressive elaboration.  The scope statement will include what is in scope and what is not in scope.

The ISA project will include the design, testing, and delivery of an improved intranet security system throughout the organization.  All personnel, hardware, and software resources will be managed by the project team.  All project work will be independent of daily and ongoing operations and all required testing will be done in the IT laboratory.  All project funding will be managed by the Senior Project Director up to and including the allocated amounts in this document.  Any additional funding requires approval from the Project Sponsor.  This project will conclude when the final report is submitted within 30 days after the intranet security solution is tested and deployed throughout the organization, all technical documentation is complete and distributed to the appropriate personnel, and a list of future security considerations is complete and submitted to the VP of Technology.

3.2                 Project Objectives and Success Criteria

Objectives should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.  The Senior Project Director must be able to track these objectives in order to determine if the project is on the path to success.  Vague, confusing, and unrealistic objectives make it difficult to measure progress and success.

The objectives which mutually support the milestones and deliverables for this project have been identified.  In order to achieve success on the ISA project, the following objectives must be met within the designated time and budget allocations:

  • Develop security solution methodology to present to the VP of Technology within the next 20 days
  • Complete list of required hardware/software which meets budget allocation within the next 25 days
  • Create a simulated solution in the IT lab using all purchased hardware and software to test the solution within the next 60 days
  • Achieve a simulated solution which allows no security breaches and complete testing within the next 90 days
  • Implement the solution across the organization within the next 120 days

3.3                 Requirements

The project team should develop a list of all high-level project requirements.  These requirements are clear guidelines within which the project must conform and may be a result of input from the Project Sponsor, customer, stakeholders, or the project team.

This project must meet the following list of requirements in order to achieve success. 

  • The solution must be tested in the IT lab prior to deployment
  • Solution must be implemented without disruption to operations

Additional requirements may be added as necessary, with Project Sponsor approval, as the project moves forward.

3.4                 Constraints

Constraints are restrictions or limitations that the Senior Project Director must deal with pertaining to people, money, time, or equipment.  It is the Senior Project Director’s role to balance these constraints with available resources in order to ensure project success.

The following constraints pertain to the ISA project:

  • All security hardware and software must be compatible with our current IT platforms
  • All hardware and software must be purchased in accordance with the allocated budget and timeline
  • Two IT specialists and one security specialist will be provided as resources for this project

3.5                 Assumptions

The project team must identify the assumptions they will be working under as the project goes forward.  These assumptions are what the Senior Project Director/team expect to have or be made available without anyone specifically stating so. 

The following are a list of assumptions.  Upon agreement and signature of this document, all parties acknowledge that these assumptions are true and correct:

  • This project has the full support of the project sponsor, stakeholders, and all departments
  • The purpose of this project will be communicated throughout the company prior to deployment
  • The IT manager will provide additional resources if necessary

4           Risks

All projects have some form of risk attached.  This section should provide a list of high-level risks that the project team has determined apply to this project.

The following risks for the ISA project have been identified.  The Senior Project Director will determine and employ the necessary risk mitigation/avoidance strategies as appropriate to minimize the likelihood of these risks: 

  • Potential disruption to operations during solution deployment
  • External threats breaching intranet security via new methods

5          Project Deliverables

This section should list all of the deliverables that the customer, project sponsor, or stakeholders require upon the successful completion of the project.  Every effort must be made to ensure this list includes all deliverables and project sponsor approval must be required for adding additional deliverables in order to avoid scope creep.

The following deliverables must be met upon the successful completion of the ISA project.  Any changes to these deliverables must be approved by the Project Sponsor.

  • Fully deployed intranet security solution
  • Technical documentation for intranet security solution
  • Recommendation list for future security considerations

6          Summary Milestone Schedule

This section provides an estimated schedule of all high-level project milestones.  It is understood that this is an estimate and will surely change as the project moves forward and the tasks and milestones and their associated requirements are more clearly defined.

The project Summary Milestone Schedule is presented below.  As requirements are more clearly defined this schedule may be modified.  Any changes will be communicated through project status meetings by the Senior Project Director.

Summary Milestone Schedule – List key project milestones relative to project start. 
Project MilestoneTarget Date (mm/dd/yyyy)
Project Start01/01/2010
Complete Solution Design01/21/2010
Acquire Hardware and Software01/26/2010
Complete Solution Simulation with New Hardware/Software03/01/2010
Complete Solution Simulation and Testing04/01/2010
Deploy Solution05/01/2010
Project Complete05/15/2010

Table 1: Summary milestone schedule

7          Summary Budget

The summary budget should contain general cost components and their planned costs.  As the project moves forward these costs may change as all tasks and requirements become clearer.  Any changes must be communicated by the Senior Project Director.

The following table contains a summary budget based on the planned cost components and estimated costs required for successful completion of the project.

Summary Budget – List component project costs 
Project ComponentComponent Cost
Personnel Resources$110,000
Software and Licensing$75,000
IT Lab Preparation$15,000

Table 2: Summary budget

8          Organization and Responsibilities

Below is the organizational chart for the project, followed by a description of the roles and responsibilities for each position.

8.1                 Organizational Chart

*Insert Org Chart

8.2                 Project Sponsors

The Project Sponsors will provide overall guidance to the project and provide senior-management direction as needed.  Specifics of the role include:

  • Actively champion the project and monitor project progress
    • Maintain thorough understanding of the project
    • Provide senior-level support and guidance
    • Assist in removing obstacles to success
    • Approve changes to project scope, timing, budget, and charter, as appropriate
    • Empower the project team to make decisions
    • Make strategic-level decisions and resolve issues in a timely manner

Project Sponsors are:


Table 3: Project sponsors

8.3                 Project Director

Assigned Project Director

The assigned Senior Project Director for the [Project Name] Project is {Senior Project Director’s Name.}


The Senior Project Director is the person responsible for developing, in conjunction with the Project Sponsor, a definition of the project. The Senior Project Director then ensures that the project is delivered on time, to budget and to the required quality standard. This person ensures the project is effectively resourced and manages relationships with a wide range of groups, including all project contributors.


The  is responsible for managing the work of the project, allocating and utilizing resources in an efficient manner and maintaining a co-operative, motivated and successful team. The responsibilities of the Senior Project Director include the following;

8.4                 Project Steering Committee

Project Steering Committee members are any person or group who is to provide overall guidance as needed to assure that the program/project meets the goals and objectives.  This committee is comprised of Executive and Business Sponsor and designated stakeholders representing the affected organizational units. 


Key Project Steering Committee members are:


Table 4: Key project steering committee members

8.5                 Project Stakeholders

Project Stakeholders are any person or group who has interests which may by impacted, either positively or negatively, by the performance or completion of the project. The Key Project Stakeholders identified for the [Project Name] Project are actively involved within the project and as a result may exert influence over the project’s objectives and outcomes. To account for stakeholder involvement, project deliverables shall require stakeholder review and approval as appropriate.

Key Project Stakeholders are:


Table 5: Key project stakeholders

8.6                 Project Team

 The [Project Name] Project Team will provide the day-to-day operation of the project and will:

  • Serve as full-time participants on the project
  • Participate/lead specific project tasks in accordance with the project plan
  • Facilitate work sessions and conduct interviews, as appropriate
  • Ensure adequate project documentation is created and maintained
  • Perform development of assigned deliverables, and ensure deliverables are completed on schedule
  • Actively participate in developing project work products, refining business processes, and in developing, implementing and testing system requirements
  • Anticipate problems proactively and make recommendations for improvements
  • Resolve issues in a timely manner per the project issue escalation policy
  • Actively participate in Project Team meetings and status reporting activities
  • Review project deliverables in accordance with deliverable review process

Project Team Staffing Estimate

Project RoleParticipation Estimate
Project Director1
Agency Project Manager (if applicable) 

Table 6: Project team staffing estimate

Participation Estimate: The estimated number of FTEs who will serve on the project within the given role.

9          Project Success Factors

The organization must understand when the project has reached a successful completion.  These criteria must be clear and should be accepted by whoever will sign-off on the project’s closeout.  Once signed-off by the authorized person, the project is deemed approved and is successful as long as it has met all of the agreed upon requirements.  If there are either qualitative or quantitative (metrics) measures that the Agency is trying to achieve by implementing this project, list them here.

Success for the [Project Name] will be achieved when a fully tested intranet security solution, and all technical documentation, is fully deployed throughout the company within the time and cost constraints indicated in this charter.  Additionally, this measure of success must include a recommendation list for future security considerations as we fully anticipate the necessity of this solution to evolve in order to prevent future threats. Success will be determined by the Project Sponsor, Mr. Jim Thomas, who will also authorize completion of the project.

Click here to download Project Charter Template.