The Project Group, LLC

The Project Group, LLC Newsletter

  Advancing Project Management

October 2002  


in this issue


Announcing A New Earned Value Course

The Project Group announces an one-day training course on Earned Value tailored to Information Technology projects. This intensive course equips experienced project managers and project control professionals to establish earned value tracking on their projects without elaborate systems or procedures. Through a facilitated series of exercises, participants learn the concepts, principles and techniques we have used successfully to institute earned-value tracking and controls on numerous software development projects. Students learn how familiar project management techniques such as work breakdown structures, resource-loaded schedules, and baseline disciplines are applied to create powerful project diagnostic tool in an informal project environment.

The Nuts & Bolts of Project Management

We specialize in assisting corporate and government clients in learning to improve their productivity while planning and executing projects.

Our three-phase approach yields faster more efficient project initiation, planning and execution results.

We also offer a one-day class on Microsoft Project 2000TM for users wanting to improve their productivity in using the software.

We offer this free newsletter that is distributed monthly via email. To subscribe, click on the link below.

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Each month our newsletter will delve into a specific step in the phases of Initiation, Planning and Execution of projects. Our methodology is applicable to any project in any industry.

This newsletter focuses on Process 3: Drafting A Project Charter





Project Charter - What Is It?


A written repository of key project data

A reference document for decision making

A dynamic document that changes as the project evolves

A document that describes what the project is all about

The Project Charter is drafted by the core project team and is reviewed and approved by the project sponsor or client before the project tasks commence. It may be five paragraphs or fifty pages. Its purpose is to make clear what the project is about. It proactively addresses client concerns about what is not in the project. It will avoid surprises later on.

It contains sections that describe

The business case rational

The Project Objective Statement

The Project Organization Chart

Mandatory requirements vs. Wishlist Requirements

Major Deliverables

Major Milestones

It also could include



Major Risks/Hinge Factors

Quality Standards, Testing, Acceptance & Turnover plans

Benefits to client/end users

Current status/history


Validate With Sponsor


After drafting a project charter, validate it with the sponsor. Validation is an important step as it clarifies what the project team understands the project is to accomplish. With sponsor validation there is clarity and understanding on all parties part enabling project team members to move forward into the planning stage.

During the validation process ask these questions.

Have the project parameters been clearly defined?

Will the scope change significantly?

Will the resources change significantly?

Does the timeline appear to be realistic?




A Project Charter helps you manage expectations, clearly showing what the Project is about. After validating it with the sponsor, distribute it widely to everyone involved with the project and to those who are not on the project that may be interested. This is an important document that provides focus and clarity to the project team members.


What Is Earned Value?


Earned value is the most effective way of telling the truth about project progress. It combines schedule and cost (or effort) baselines with actual status data to create objective measures about the project's performance.

While Earned Value has traditionally been used for large, government projects where millions are at stake, spreadsheets and desktop PM scheduling software have now brought earned value calculations into the reach of those managing smaller endeavors.

Earned value reports can predict with considerable accuracy when you will end a project and how much it will cost after less than a quarter of the project duration is completed. It can show you objective measures to compare the performance of multiple projects within your organization. It can show senior management they are getting their money's worth for a project under way (or not!).

After having instituted the basics of CPM schedule and project chartering processes, many organizations are reaching the maturity where they wish to validate the efficiency of their execution phase against original plans. Earned value offers you the most elegant way to do this.


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