Six Sigma Project charter – how to develop and use?

Do you remember times, when you verbally agreed on something, and after few days you found out, that the other person understood topic differently? Or have forgotten during the time? You wished to have it on written agreement and signed, right?

This article covers:

  • What is project charter?
  • Why to use project charter?
  • Project charter in Six Sigma
  • How to write charter?
  • Charter sections descriptions.
  • Project charter example.
  • Charter in Excel download for free.

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What is project charter?

Back to the question from the beginning. – Do you remember times, when you verbally agreed on something and after few days you found out, that the other person understood topic differently? Or have forgotten during the time? You wished to have it on written agreement and signed, right?

I have several different experiences like this in my life. And I bet you, I do not want to have such ones on projects I am leading.

Wow, project charter is solving misunderstandings, described above, in the project management.

Project Charter sections descriptions

Read how to identify 8 WASTES OF LEAN in your process

Project charter is a great communication tool. And it can be taken as a contract between sponsor and project leader.

Why to use project charter?

Project can last several weeks or months. So, if you discuss the goal at the beginning just verbally, it can be forgotten, or misinterpreted during a time.

Another charter benefit is to helps project leader to understand opportunities for improvement from sponsor. And then helps effectively communicate these opportunities to the team.

What is written will endure and anybody can come back to review.

This is how to choose the best Six Sigma Training and Certification

Project charter in Six Sigma

Take Six Sigma methodology as set of tools that that helps us improve current challanging processes, problematic information or product flows to improved level.

There are many tools this methodology provides. Good news is that by using 20% of these tools you can iprove 80% of all tasks. And project charter is one of them. And charter is part of DMAIC as well as DMEDV method. so important this tool in project management is.

I recomment to project charter be your first thing to do in your project

It should be a living document, you should be reviewing through all project phases. Always start your stakeholders reviews with Projec Charter on the first presentation slide. Highlight main opportunities and status comparing the project plan.

DMAIC tool list find here

How to write a project charter?

There are different approaches how to begin with writing your charter. Try this one:

  • project leader talks to the sponsor first. About the project goal, of course.
  • As a second, leader write charter after this discussion. Verbal knowledge will be transformed to written form.
  • Last step is review what is written with sponsor again. And modify accordingly.

There are six sections in the project charter. Opportunity statement, Business case, Project goal, Project scope, High level plan and Team selection. Fill theses sections in this order. Is logical and subsequent.

Project Charter example

Charter sections description

Opportunity statement serve for better understanding of fears and concerns occurring during the job performance. Try to describe what needs to be resolved for successful change.

Business case describes reasons of project importance. Try to express how pains are impacting addressed process.

Project goal is a clear statement what needs to be accomplished. Goal is a function influenced by different variables. Mathematical expression: Y =f(x), where Y is a function and f(x) are variables. Good goal is SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound. It describes current pain, future goal and the due date to reach that goal. Start your goal with words: To improve…; To change…; Increase…; Decrease…;

Project plan exel template (I use) find here

Project scope is key to not deviate from the main goal. We are trying to express what we want to resolve and what should be out of the scope. We define processes usually. Make sure team, including sponsor, understands why those processes are included of excluded from the project.

High level project plan is teams activities timeline, with the starting date and expected finish date. Try to estimate due date for changes introduction, too.

And finally, team selection describes key teammates roles and names. Select team members that will be beneficial during project duration. 5 to 8 people is ideal team number. Beneficial for the project is to have sponsor name and all stakeholders names written in this section, too. Stakeholders are people, mangers that are the most interested in changes to happen.

What is Operational definition in Lean Six Sigma and Project management?

Project charter example

Do not forget. Six sigma is referring to a data-driven improvement cycle.

So, when writing each section, try to use numbers as much as you can and not just expressions.

Data usage is great to have for several reasons. Here are listed my top ones:

  • Helps to better describe current situation, why is so challenging
  • You have better chance convince stakeholders for budget approval
  • You have higher chance project to be approved and supported by other departments
  • Data can help convince team members to participate in the project
  • Will help you understand if you reached targeted goal or how much you deviate from that goal
  • You can visualize reached improvements by putting initial and final data next to each other

Let me show you a NOT good Business case example: Last month our business lost several key contracts, which influenced our revenue.

How to identify 8 wastes of lean read here

And now good Business case example using numbers and data: In the first quarter of 2021, 3 key customers left our business, with consequence of 20% loss in company revenue. Check out video, with examples of writing the charter.

When you meet your project team, charter must be ready and communicated with project sponsor.

Charter is a living document, that can be slightly modified and updated during the whole project cycle.

It takes some time with working on projects following DMAIC. But it worth it. So, do not jump into the solutions however attractive and tempting it would be. Try to understand current problem, identify your ideal state, and create a plan to reach it.

VOC – Voice of customer – understand it and improve your process

this a excel charter to download preview

Here is a link to download project charter template for your usage, with the brief description of each section.

I do videos, blog posts, and all templates for free, in my free time. I will appreciate if you can donate me a cup of cofee, for more energy in my creation. (1 dollar counts, too 😉 Click on this link: I would like to support Erik in his effort

Do not forget to visit and subscribe my YouTube channel. There are short explanatory videos to Six Sigma topics and tools uplodaed regurarly: Six sigma YouTube channel

Do not hesitate to post your comments, questions, or themes you are interested in.

Yours sincerely Erik

Do not be lost during your projects. Use Project Charter 😉

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DMAIC casue study in the offcie

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