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Providing Clarity in Chaos with a Team Charter


Have you ever been a part of a team that lacked clarity? Or have you had a boss that wasn’t organized and always swapped and moved around teammates to produce a project? In these cases, was a team charter present at the beginning of the project? Probably not. The team charter is a document that specifies how you will work together It provides clarity for all members of a project team and is a document that can be referenced in times of chaos to settle the seas.


“All teams work under some sort of informal or formal charter that provides the “playground rules” for working together.” (ID Project Handbook, 2021, P. 22)


With all documents comes structure. This is the same for the team charter. There are seven mandatory parts to a team charter. This article will delve into each section.


1. Mission

Every team needs a direction. The mission section provides a common goal and direction the team will work towards.


Example:

“Our mission is to develop job process training for our warehouse forklift associates by developing 2 eLearning modules to be deployed in our LMS.”


2. Critical Success Factors (CSFs)

Defining CSFs is crucial to avoid building training just to build training. Every project must have a way to judge its success or failure. CSF are documented and outlines what the definition of success is.


Example:


3. Roles and Responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities are outlined at the beginning of the project to determine who is responsible for what. There are many methods to do this. Some examples are teams can self-organize in a scrum fashion or they can make a RACI matrix.


Example:


4. Project Coordination

Just like an orchestra needs a maestro to coordinate, as does a team and their charter. The team charter has a section that outlines the process and how the project efforts will be aligned and executed.


Example:

  • Sprint planning will be done at the beginning of the month and a sprint review will be held at the end. Daily standup meetings will be held to track progress and accountability.

  • Group members will post updates every day in Asana.

  • Group members will update the scrum master on any potential blockers and how to solve them.

  • All documents must stay up to date in google drive and all prototypes must be up to date in review 360.

  • QA revisions are handled within 2 days of requests.


5. Project Communications

Have you ever been texted outside of work hours? Or had an inbox with thousands of emails? This section outlines where and when you can communicate.


Example:

  • Email: Used for client communication

  • Google Docs: Used for all project artifacts

  • Asana: Used for all updates and project requests

  • Slack: Used for all project related communications

  • SMS: Not allowed to use unless it’s an emergency


6. Conflict Resolution

Conflicts happen in every team no matter the maturity or experience. This area outlines the procedures for resolving any conflict issues that may arise.


Example:

In the case of a conflict, the team will do the following:

  1. Listen to each party’s concern and try to understand each other

  2. Discuss possible solutions

  3. Come to an agreement with all parties

*In the case no one agrees, the project manager will make a decision on how to move forward.


7. Team Accountability

Everyone has their off days or can't see the vision to produce satisfactory work. This section outlines the process for holding teammates accountable.


Example:

  • Positive feedback and encouragement are given throughout the project.

  • When a team member underperforms a self-evaluation is done by that team member to locate any potential issues.

  • Quality review is done by different team members to review the quality of work produced.

8. Signature

Finally, the team will all sign the agreed upon document and are upheld to it.


I’m Cory Archer. If you want to learn more about me, click here.


References:

BSU OPWL. (2021) Instructional Design Course Handbook. Boise State University