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Project charter template: How to create a project charter

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Free project charter template to get any project off the ground

Project managers should use this project charter template to outline the key details of their projects.
This template was built with Coda, the all-in-one platform that blends the flexibility of docs, structure of spreadsheets, power of applications, and intelligence of AI.

Play with the template below or copy it to save your edits.

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Project Name
Project Sponsor
Project Start Date
Project End Date
Launch Monetization Ecosystem
Release of the Content Creation Ecosystem
Launch Alpha version
Fix major bugs
Ben Lee
56 days 21 hrs
Release alpha version of product
First release of the product (testing purposes)
Identify bugs and major system issues for mobile version
Launch Product
Shishir Mehrotra
37 days
Fix major bug fixes on mobile app
Mobile Improvements to get ready for Beta version of product
Identify Bugs
Implement new system to fix bug
Launch new release
Ben Lee
52 days
Board Meeting
Meeting with Stakeholders
Finalize Speakers
Shishir Mehrotra
13 days
There are no rows in this table

After a project's statement of work is approved and before the project planning phase begins, there's a short middle stage where organizations draw lines of authority. Everyone involved with a project needs to align around
Who's running the project.
The budget and project schedule.
The project's success criteria.
The roles of each team member.
The project charter is where all these details live. Once a project charter is complete, your project team members will gain alignment and set a foundation for effective project planning.
We created a project charter template you can use right now for free. It's straightforward and deeply customizable with that makes gaining approval, sharing, and editing your charter simple.

What is a project charter?

A project charter is a formal document that outlines the high-level details of a project, including its scope, goals, timeline, deliverables, and participants. The purpose of a project charter is to help the project manager gain the approval and authorization they need to start the project.
Put simply, a project charter explains the who, what, where, when, why, and how of a project so all stakeholders can sign off on it.
Once it's complete, the project charter gives the project manager the authority to access resources, set up processes, and even circumvent the traditional org structure to complete the project.
A project charter typically comes after the statement of work (or project contract) is signed and before . The statement of work explains the work involved with the project, the project charter lays out everything the team needs to do that work, and the project planning documents explain how the team will do the work.
When they're done well, project charters set expectations and create a foundation for later project plan documents, like the .

What's included in the project charter template?

Project charters typically follow a standardized formula and tend to be fairly short, often linking to other more detailed documents that dive into the specifics of the project. For these reasons, a customizable project charter template that you can quickly edit and share is a great tool for your project management toolkit.
No matter how you customize it, your project charter should include ten things:

1. Project statement

A project statement (or project definition) is a short summary of the statement of work, explaining what the project is. What you put here should be a direct answer to the question "What is your project?" In our template, the project statement and the project name are the same things.

2. Project description

Your project description is a one-to-two sentence summary of the project and what the team behind it aims to accomplish. Think of it as the "elevator pitch" for the project that everyone agrees on.

3. Project milestones

Project milestones are the major markers of progress throughout the life of a project. Each milestone is almost a mini-project in itself, containing a description, timeline, and status. The role of a milestone is to break down a large project into smaller chunks and provide every stakeholder included in the with a rough sequence of events the project will follow. We've found that using a Gantt chart for your major milestones is a great way to visualize your entire project lifecycle.

4. Project scope and timeline

Explicitly lay out the project timeline using specific start and end dates. The best way to explain the project scope is to be specific in your project description and milestones about what is being accomplished.

5. Project deliverables and requirements

A part of explaining the project scope is listing out all project deliverables and specific requirements from the stakeholders. You can fold both deliverables and requirements into the description of each milestone, or you can create your own section listing them out separately.

6. Project objectives

Objectives are the overall vision for the project. For example, an objective would be "to understand where visitors to our website are coming from."
Like your deliverables, you can also fold your project objectives into your project description or have it as a separate list.

7. Project success criteria & expected ROI

To get sign-off on the project, explain how that project will benefit the business and the success criteria around those benefits. We recommend thinking about ROI as a "business need" or "business case," which is included in the template.

8. Roles and responsibilities

Next, explain who is involved with the project, what they're doing, and their responsibilities. A person's role is their purpose in the project, for example, "Engineer," "Stakeholder," or "Team Lead."
Responsibilities are short descriptions of what each person is tasked with completing. In our template, responsibilities are a part of the Role and Team descriptions.

9. Project Budget

Record the amount of money set aside for the project. All key stakeholders you previously lined up in the need to be aware of what organizational resources they have to work with. Use Coda’s to record your project’s estimated and actual budgets. Once you define your resources, you’ll be able to move on to the next step: filling out an and reaching out to vendors.

10. Project risks

If you foresee any issues with the execution of the project, list them out as . These can include anything that might derail the timeline, create complicated dependencies, lead to scope creep, or crash the project. helps everyone understand what can go wrong and create contingency plans.

👉 Get started with this project charter template
Copy this template

After you copy this template, you’ll be able to edit and customize everything in this template and use this template for your next project.

How to write a project charter using Coda's template

Step 1: Adding a New Project

Start with the page, where you can introduce a new project for your organization. By filling out the form, you can identify a Project Name, Description, address the Business Case, choose your Project Sponsor, and add the Duration of your project.
Once your project is added, you can view the full list of current projects your organization is taking on table. This will give you a better grasp of which Teams are taking on the project.

Step 2: Creating Milestones for your Projects

Next, visit the page to add in new milestones for your projects. You can click the Add New Milestone button to identify which project you are adding a milestone and the correlated details for the milestone. Each milestone has a Correlated Project, Start Date, End Date, and a Status on the progress of the milestone.
Below the table, you can see a visual timeline of the milestones correlated to each project . This allows all the teams in your organization to visually see the statuses of each milestone in real time.

Extra Steps: People and Teams

Finally, in the page, you can view the different people that are in your organization. You can add a new person by clicking the Add New Person button and assign them to different Teams and Roles.
Along with that, you can add sponsors to your organization from external companies by visiting the page.

A few of the 40,000+ teams that run on Coda.

Coda is an all-in-one platform that blends the flexibility of docs, structure of spreadsheets, power of applications, and intelligence of AI.
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