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The Business Case, Project Charter and Phase Plans.

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Neville Turbit - Project Perfect

 

I am often asked what information should be included in a Business Case, or what should go into a Project Charter (sometimes called a Project Definition or Project Plan). We need to balance relevance with lack of duplication. We need to understand the different audience and purpose of each document. In addition I have included a Phase Plan that is used to plan the next chunk of work.

The table below gives a guide to each document and shows how the information meshes together.

Overview - Business Case, Project Charter, Phase Plan

 
Business Case
Project Charter
Phase Plan
Purpose Obtain organisational agreement to fund the project and provide resources Define the manner in which the project will be managed and the governance surrounding the project Define at a micro level, the plan for each phase
Audience IT Steering Committee Project Team, Sponsor and if applicable, Program Director Project Team and if applicable, Program Director

Project Context - Business Case, Project Charter, Phase Plan

 
Business Case
Project Charter
Phase Plan
Business Problem Yes. Detailed    
Project Objectives Yes. Yes.  
Project Scope Yes. High Level Yes. Low Level  
Approach Yes.    
Stakeholders Yes. Yes. Detailed  

Justification - Business Case, Project Charter, Phase Plan

 
Business Case
Project Charter
Phase Plan
Strategic Alignment Yes.    
Benefits Yes. Detailed including basis for estimating and how they will be validated.    
Project Deliverables Yes. Yes.  
Budget Yes. Detailed including basis for estimating. Yes. Broken down into accounts. Cash flow Yes. For the phase seeking approval for allocation of the phase budget.
Timing Yes. Approximate Yes. Estimated Schedule Yes. Detailed Phase Plan
Risks Yes. Yes. Include mitigation Yes. Phase specific including mitigation

Macro Planning - Business Case, Project Charter, Phase Plan

 
Business Case
Project Charter
Phase Plan
Assumptions Yes. Yes. Yes. Relevant to the phase
Constraints Yes. Yes.  
Issues Yes. Only if relevant to approval to proceed Yes. Current Issues Yes. Current Issues
Resources Yes. Approximate numbers Yes. Skills required plus any resources already assigned Yes. Assigned resources
Readiness   Yes. To start the project Yes. To start the phase
Scope Variation Mgmt   Yes.  
Communication Plan   Yes.  
Security   Yes.  
Documentation Plan   Yes.  
Financial Management   Yes.  
Vendor Mgmt   Yes.  
QA   Yes. Approach to QA Yes. QA activities within the phase
Tools & Techniques   Yes. Which tools & techniques and how deployed. Training reqd. Yes. If applicable to the phase. Training plans if reqd.
Facilities & Equipment   Yes. General requirements such as x PC's, Space reqts. Yes. If applicable to the phase e.g. room bookings, dates etc.

Micro Planning - Business Case, Project Charter, Phase Plan

 
Business Case
Project Charter
Phase Plan
Roles & Responsibilities   Yes. Overall for the project Yes. Detailed for that phase
Phase Deliverables   Yes. Yes. Includes internal & external deliverables
Phase Scope   Yes. High Level Yes. Low Level
Milestones   Yes. Major project milestones Yes. All milestones for the phase
Phase Objectives     Yes
Activities     Yes

This Information is not meant to be definitive. It depends on how your organisation operates, and what level of detail is required. In some organisations, a very comprehensive business case includes much of the information normally found in a charter.

Another aspect is the size of the project. For smaller projects, there may be no need for phase plans, or you might include two or three phases in the one plan.

 
Project Management Templates, Plans, Forms and Processes.

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