Article #478 Using the Kanban Technique for Developing the Project Charter Document

The project charter is one of the must deliverables for any project regardless of its type or size. Nevertheless, when it comes to capital construction projects, the project charter is a very critical document due to the size of project investment, extensive assumptions, and constraints, different individuals’ involvement in analyzing and developing the content, many stakeholders representing multiple entities just to list a few. By definition, a project charter is a statement of the scope, objectives, budget, critical milestone dates, and participants in a project. It aligns the project with the organization’s strategic objectives, identifies the main stakeholders, and identifies the main constraints, assumptions, and risks that could impact the project. A project charter acts as a contract between the project sponsor, key stakeholders, and the project team.

With the constraints on in-person meetings either because of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions on travel and gatherings or because of the growing trend to work from home (WFH), those individuals involved in developing the project charter needs to have a web-enabled platform that will enable them to collaborate in an ad-hoc format. The Kanban Activity Boards has proved to be an effective agile solution that fulfills this requirement.

Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb which combines the agile solution of Kanban Activity Boards along with the access to all types of project data needed to develop the project charter coupled with the ability to produce the project charter document itself, will help the project management team to overcome all types of constraints that disallows having the required project charter. PMWeb comes ready with the project management modules needed to create the project schedule, budget, risks, and other modules required to capture the project charter data in a trustworthy, auditable and traceable format.

PMWeb Activity Board will be used to capture the content of the Project Charter for which each will be defined as a Task. Each task will be assigned a team member who will be responsible to complete the content of the related Project Charter section by the set due date. The Activity Board will group those tasks into four categories; Tasks to be Done, Tasks Being Done, Completed Tasks, and the Completed Project Charter. Tasks will be color-coded to confirm their status as well as to identify if there are issues in completing the tasks as planned.

To provide better visibility to each task, a screenshot of the PMWeb module used to perform the task will be added to each task along with a link to relevant PMWeb record as well as all supportive documents will be attached. For example, for the project schedule task which will be developed using the PMWeb scheduling module, a copy of the Bar Chart will be shown. The same will apply to project budget cost, risk, and stakeholder register.

Detailed description can be added to each task that needs to be executed including the option to break down each activity into sub-tasks with assigned responsibility and completion due date. In addition, comments can be added on each task by the project team members who have access to the Activity Board. Documents including drawings, pictures, videos among others can be attached to the task. In addition, links to other related PMWeb business processes like project schedule, project budget, risk register, stakeholder register, and others can be added to each task. Project team members can like comments made, documents attached, links added as well as the task overall.

The Activity Board manager can invite the team members who need to be part of the Project Charter development. PMWeb will be used to create an invitation email to be sent to those project team members. The email invitation has a few settings that the Activity Board manager can define. These include, for example, Give Users Edit Right, Subscribe Users to be Alerted when Activities or Tasks happen on the Activity Board, Send Email Notification with or without a hyperlink to the Activity Board.

The data captured in the Activity Board tasks will become the basis for adding the data to the Project Charter document that will be created using PMWeb custom form builder. The template will include sections for the project brief, project technical information, project schedule, project cost, project risks, project risks, and project stakeholders.

Similar to all types of business processes created using PMWeb, the Project Charter business process can be also be attached with its supportive documents. Those could include drawings, specifications, equipment catalogs, pictures, test results, among others.

In addition, links to PMWeb records for all types of relevant business processes managed in PMWeb can be also added. For example, those could include project schedule, project budget, project risk, and others.

It is highly recommended that all supportive documents, regardless of their type or source, get uploaded and stored on the PMWeb document management repository. PMWeb allows creating folders and subfolders to match the physical filing structure used to store hard copies of those documents.

As with any other project management business process, if there is a requirement to formally submit, review and approve the Project Charter, a workflow will be used to formalize the submission, review, and approval tasks. The assigned workflow will map the submit, review and approve tasks, roles or roles assigned to each task, task duration, task type, and actions available for the task.

About the Authorfounder

Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with 40-year service record providing project management, project controls services, and project management information systems to over 200 projects with a total value over the US $100 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education, and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment, Hospitality, and shopping malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, Telecommunication, and Information Technology projects. He is thoroughly experienced in complete project management including project management control systems, computerized project control software, claims analysis/prevention, risk analysis/management (contingency planning), design, supervision, training, and business development.

Bassam is a frequent speaker on topics relating to Project Management, Strategic Project Management, and Project Management Personal Skills. Over the past 40 years, he has lectured at more than 350 events and courses at different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and South America. He has written more than 300 articles on project management and information systems featured in international and regional magazines and newspapers. He is a co-founder of the Project Management Institute- Arabian Gulf Chapter (PMI-AGC) and has served on its board of directors for more than 6 years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), a certified Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP), and Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE) and Green Project Management (GPM).

Bassam holds a Masters in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – Kuwait University, Kuwait and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA, and London Business School, London, UK.


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