Be an Instant PM Hero

Being a hero by unlocking the complexities of a project is within your reach, whether you are a seasoned project manager or a PM newbie. Here's how.

To become a project hero, you need to work some magic of some sort. That's not always easy, especially if you don't have the experience or knowledge directly pertaining to the project.

You need a short cut, an efficient way to get at the crux of what matters. You need something that focuses your attention like a laser on the things that matter most, and allows you to communicate easily and clearly to stakeholders and team members.

Your secret weapon - for learning, being effective, and impressing - is a good project management template.

And amazingly, for many smaller project, there is only one template you need - the Project Charter template. The reasons why is that it is so comprehensive, that for a smaller project, it covers nearly every aspect of the project. It does so by asking key questions - and getting that laser focus by forcing you to focus on answering those questions.

Here are the key questions to answer in a Project Charter template - and they'll take you far.

  1. What is your vision for the end state of the project, and by when do you want to realize that vision?
  2. What are the key objectives that will get you to realize that vision?
  3. What items are part of this project, and what are clearly not part of this project?
  4. Outline the key deliverables and organize by a logical component category.
  5. Who are the direct customers for this project, and who are the customer representatives?
  6. Who are the stakeholders and groups that make up the stakeholders of the project?
  7. What are the key roles on the project, such as project sponsor, project board, project manager, and project team members; who occupies these roles; and what are the responsibilities of each role?
  8. Develop a graphical organization structure for the project, illustrating the relationships among the different customers, stakeholders, and teams involved with the project?
  9. What is your approach to initiating, planning, executing, and closing the project?
  10. What is the project timeline or schedule, including key activities and timing. What are the milestones and dependencies among these activities? What resources do you plan to use and when?
  11. What is the projected cost and timing for the project?
  12. What are the key project risks, including probability and impact?
  13. How will you maintain focus during the project on quality, timing, cost, changes, risks, issues, and communications?
  14. What are your completion criteria, and what will you do to officially complete the project?

If you want to learn, be instantly effective, and impress, answer the questions above thoroughly and organize it all in a well documented project charter.