10 critical questions to be answered during a project chartering session

At the beginning of each project, one of the first job for the project manager is to define the scope of the project.  For some projects, there might be a business case that the PM can use to understand what the project is about.   However, in real life, project management is still a relatively new concept and many organizations are still developing and refining their project management framework.  This means most projects do not have all the paperwork ready to start the project.  Since, the job of the PM is to ensure the project completes on time, in scope and within budget, therefore It is critical to define these three items as the first step of the project.  In this week’s post, I would like to walk through the format that I use to run project chartering session.

The purpose of the project chartering session is to gain a high-level understanding of what the project is trying to achieve, who needs to get involves as well as a board estimation of project milestones.  To find this information out, I like to use the following 10 questions to facilitate my project chartering session.

10 questions for project chartering session

(Click on the picture for an enlarge view)

Who needs to involve in the project chartering session?

To decide who needs to define the scope, I usually have a quick meeting with the project sponsor to get their input on this.  Usually, this session will include the Sponsor, the PM, a small number (1-2) key stakeholders, and the lead business analyst (if one was identified at this stage).

This meeting will be a workshop style meeting, so it is best to choose a meeting room where whiteboard and wall spaces are available.  For questions 1 – 5, information can be captured on whiteboards or flip charts.   For questions 6 and onwards, it is easier to use sticky to facilitate and document the conversation.

Depending on the size and complexity of the project, as well as how much information you have prior to hosting this meeting, you might need to break the 10 questions down into two or more 2 hours meetings to complete the chartering exercise.

Final words…

Like all project management workshops, organizing all the gathered information and documentation are extremely important and valuable for future project work.  The final product of the project chartering session would be the project charter.

Since the project sponsor was part of this workshop, it would be easy(er) to get his/her approval on the charter when you present it to them!


  1.  Header picture is sourced from The Art of Project Management (https://www.slideshare.net/plantedplanet/art-of-project-management-session)

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