Project Management Plan Vs Project Charter Explained

Editorial Team

Project Management Plan Vs Project Charter

In project management, two key documents are vital for success. They are the project management plan and the project charter. Each serves a unique purpose and guides different parts of the project. This ensures everything is clear and managed well. Let’s take a look at what each document includes and how they work together during the project.

What is a Project Charter?

A project charter is a key document made early in the project’s life. It sets the foundation and direction for the project. It covers the project’s goals, scope, vision, and who is involved.

The project charter is the first paper that lets the project begin. It shows stakeholders the benefits. It acts as a main sales document, showing the project’s essentials like goals and timeline.

The charter and a business case are not the same. The business case looks at the project’s value and benefits. The charter, however, is like a contract detailing everyone’s roles and what is expected from them. It makes everyone’s duties clear.

The charter is made at the project’s beginning. It includes things like project description, success measures, and what’s needed. It also lists the people involved, their roles, and the project sponsor’s name.

According to PMBOK, the project charter is the first major step in the project. It gets the project going and supports the manager. It gives the manager the power to use resources for the project.

To make a project charter, you need several things, like agreements and the business situation. The creation uses methods like expert advice and meetings. Using standard templates makes setting up projects easier and consistent.

The project charter is a vital guide throughout the project. It helps direct the project alongside the project plan. While the charter looks at big picture items like scope and stakeholders, the project plan details the nitty-gritty like activities and timelines. Together, they form a full plan for running the project well.

How to Create a Project Charter

Creating a project charter is a crucial first step when you start a project. It is like making a map for your journey towards success. The charter outlines the project’s vision, goals, the people involved, what it includes and excludes, and the challenges you might face. It is crafted early in the project, following the guidelines from the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK).

To make a project charter, you first need to outline the project goals. These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). They give your project a clear direction and purpose.

Then, you must define the project scope. This step involves deciding what the project will cover and what it won’t. Knowing the scope sets clear expectations and helps manage what stakeholders want.

Identifying the project stakeholders comes next. You need to figure out who will be impacted by the project and their roles. Stakeholders can include anyone from the project sponsor and senior management to clients and regulatory bodies.

Addressing project risks is also vital. Risks can be anything that might affect the project negatively, like running out of resources, technical issues, or changes in the market. By identifying these risks early, you can plan how to avoid or handle them.

Creating a project timeline and setting milestones is necessary for managing the project well. Timelines show how the project will move forward. Make sure to set realistic milestones that you can track over the project’s life.

Making a project charter involves setting project goals, defining its scope, knowing the stakeholders, handling risks, and making a clear timeline. The charter guides the project, helping everyone know the goals and limits. Remember, a good project charter is key to planning and carrying out the project successfully.

What is a Project Plan?

A project plan breaks down a project into smaller tasks, timelines, budgets, and risk management. It’s like a roadmap for managing and carrying out the project.

It’s important to align with the project’s goals in the project charter. The plan lists activities, tasks, and who’s responsible. It sets a timeline with milestones and important dates.

The project plan makes monitoring easier. It helps keep track of progress and tackle issues. It aims to meet project objectives.

It also ensures money and resources are allocated right. Risk management like contingency plans is included to handle possible problems during the project.

Key Components of a Project Plan:

  • Project tasks and activities
  • Timelines and milestones
  • Resource allocation and management
  • Budget and financial planning
  • Risk management strategies
  • Responsibilities and roles

This plan leads to efficient project execution and effective use of resources. Together with the project charter, it guides project management. This helps in completing the project successfully.

What is a Project Management Plan?

A project management plan is vital for any project. It guides how to run, watch, and steer the project. It looks into many things, like the project’s scope, how long it will take, the budget, quality, and the team. It also includes plans for risks, talking to people, buying things, and keeping everyone involved informed.

This plan details the project tasks and must-do items to reach the goals. It sets up a way to manage the project from the beginning to end. This ensures every important part is thought of and worked on together.

The plan also defines the project’s scope. This means it lists all the work that needs to be done and what will be created. This is to make sure everyone agrees and to prevent extra work not planned for.

Next, it talks about the project timeline. This is the plan for when things will be done and the final project given. It marks important dates and deadlines to make sure everything is finished on time.

The money part is covered too. It lays out the funds set aside for the project. You’ll see estimated costs for everything needed to complete the project well. Staying within the budget is key to success.

Then, the plan tackles assigning resources like people, equipment, and materials. It explains how these resources will get the project done. Managing them through the project’s life is outlined here too.

Risk management is another crucial topic. It looks for possible problems that could come up. The plan offers ways to tackle these risks head-on. This helps the project team prepare and reduce problems.

Moreover, it includes how to keep everyone updated. The communication plan spells out how info will be shared. Good communication is needed so that all can do their jobs well.

Project Charter vs Project Plan

In project management, two key documents guide a project. They are the project charter and the project plan. Each plays a unique role throughout the project. Understanding their differences and how they work together is vital.

The project charter starts the project off. It’s a broad document that explains the project’s purpose, goals, and who is involved. It helps everyone understand and agree on the project. This document outlines what the project needs, like scope, time, budget, and resources.

After the project charter is okayed, the project plan comes into play. It’s a detailed guide for doing the project. It lays out specific tasks, when they’ll happen, and what resources are needed. The plan makes it easier to manage the project by setting a clear path for completing tasks, avoiding risks, and working with stakeholders.

The project charter is usually short. The project plan, however, can be much longer. This length depends on how complex the project is.

At the start, the project sponsor brings out the project charter. This action officially starts the project. It allows the project manager to use resources. The sponsor, who provides the money, must okay the charter and set the budget.

To make a project charter, managers use business cases, agreements, and what the organization already has. They also might talk to experts, have idea-sharing meetings, and hold interviews. This ensures the charter truly shows the project’s goals and limits.

Having a project charter has many pluses. It helps get approval from higher-ups and makes the project’s scope clear. It boosts teamwork among stakeholders, sets the project team’s expectations, and keeps everyone aimed at the goal.

The project plan dives into how to do the project. It includes a timeline with tasks, how long they’ll take, and important points along the way. It also describes the team’s roles and how to use resources well for success.

The project charter and project plan serve different needs but depend on each other. The plan is made using the charter’s information and direction. Together, they provide a solid framework that helps the project meet its goals and satisfy everyone involved.

How do the Project Charter and Project Plan Work Together?

The project charter and project plan are very important. They make sure a project is successful. They are different but work together to give a complete plan for the project.

The project charter is a top-level document. It talks about the project’s goals, what it includes, the vision, team roles, and who is involved. It is like a map for the project. It shows where to go without giving all the small details. The project charter also starts the project and helps convince people it’s a good idea. It tells them what they will gain from investing in the project.

After the project charter is okayed, it’s time for the project plan. The project plan goes into how to do the project. It gives details on tasks, when things will happen, important points, and who is doing what. It builds on the project charter and helps keep track of how the project is doing. The plan is made after the project charter is okayed and shows how to complete the project.

If the project charter or plan changes, the other document might need updates too. Keeping both updated is key to a successful project. The charter gives the big picture needed for the plan. And the plan tells how to reach the goals set out in the charter.

Benefits of using both documents

Using a project charter and a project management plan boosts project success. Each has a special role in making sure the project runs smoothly and everyone involved is happy.

A project charter formally kicks off the project. It makes goals, scope, and how to measure success clear. It makes sure everyone agrees and gives project managers the power they need.

It also helps everyone understand the project better. This is key for making good decisions and managing resources.

A project charter outlines milestones and schedules. Teams can follow progress and meet deadlines. It also spots risks early, so they can be handled right.

The charter also fits the project with the company’s goals. This way, the project helps the company succeed.

It improves communication, too. The charter sets up how teams talk to each other. It defines everyone’s role, making teamwork smoother.

Meanwhile, the project management plan details how to do the project. It lists steps, milestones, what you need, and when things should happen.

It has baselines and ways to check how things are going. This ensures the project hits its goals on time and well.

The plan is clear about who does what. This avoids mix-ups and boosts efficiency.

It includes risk checks, too. Managers can see what might go wrong ahead of time and plan for it. This keeps problems from derailing the project.

Using both documents helps everyone understand the project fully. This unity moves the project forward smoothly. from a common goal.

Together, they help teams and stakeholders work better. They make the project more likely to succeed.

In short, these documents lay a strong groundwork for handling projects. They ensure teams work together well, communicate clearly, and deal with risks smartly. Having both is key to project and company success.

Tips for creating a project charter and a project management plan

Starting and handling a project needs two key documents: a project charter and a project management plan. They guide the project and keep everyone on the same page regarding goals, scope, and limits.

Follow these suggestions for crafting an effective project charter and management plan:

  1. Involve project stakeholders: Get inputs and approvals from those affected by the project. This makes success more likely.
  2. Utilize project templates: Use templates for ease and consistency. They help follow best practices without extra work.
  3. Keep it concise and clear: Write simply and clearly. Avoid extra words or complicated language to aid understanding.
  4. Regularly update the documents: Adjust the documents as the project changes. Keeping them current is essential for accuracy.
  5. Review and validate: Check the documents regularly. This ensures they are up to date and adjusts as necessary.

These tips help in making strong project documents. They are key for the success of any project’s life.


The project management plan and project charter are key for starting and planning projects. The charter gives the go-ahead and outlines the project’s goals, objectives, and what it aims to deliver. The management plan, meanwhile, gives details on how to run and track the project.

Having a project charter and management plan helps organizations succeed. They make sure everyone agrees, improve communication, and show how to carry out the project. Also, teams with strong skills are more likely to bring a project across the finish line.

Making a project charter in the beginning is crucial. It helps ensure the project does well. The charter should list things like the project’s name, what it’s about, why it’s needed, its timetable, key milestones, who is sponsoring it, guesses about the project, its budget, who’s working on it, and suggestions for how it goes through its life. A high-up person or the sponsor should sign it to show the project is official.

Project scope documents can change when new details come up during the project. Mind maps are a great way to figure out project scopes, charters, and how to talk about the project. They help stakeholders see things more clearly, leading to better talks and understanding of the project.