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Team Charter

This article on Team Charter is a long one, so if you want to go a little faster, then follow our table of content.

Introduction to Team Charter

Recent advancements in the business and corporate space are a reflection of our society and its sophisticated and ever-increasing needs. Corporate institutions are responsible for providing these sophisticated needs, and the process requires a high level of cooperation between teams, departments, or sometimes even other Corporations and institutions.

Highly organized teams have consistently been proven to outperform poorly organized teams. Organized teams are more effective, cohesive, and focused, and this is because of charters. In this case, team charters.

A team charter can help create focus, energy, organize, regroup, and restrategize teams easily. Charters spells out the responsibility clearly for every member of the team, clarifies objectives, responsibility, timeline, milestones, and other critical aspects of the assignments.

Team charter makes working in a team fantastic since every member works better together. But, if your team is left to go in different directions, the process can be disastrous. Without sufficient guidance, your team can focus on the wrong objectives, get torn apart by in-fighting, forget to utilize important resources, and still fail in achieving their goals. All these always come with severe consequences for your organization.

With Team Charter, you can build common values and shared understanding. One that’ll guide your team and provide them the best way to work together. The team charter provides the missing link in communication and defines the concepts and skills required to see the job done.

What Is Project Charter

A clear understanding of Team Charter starts begins with Project Charter. Everyone knows that teams are more successful than individuals, Project charters help make teams work better.

The Charter is a document issued by management. It defines and serves as a reference document to groups working together and helps them learn more about their roles. The charter also helps teams understand their goals, provides specific descriptions of functions, including details of its members and their roles and task. 

Teams, departments, and groups working together benefit from using a charter because it provides a clear direction for their work. And with the added advantage that staff can better understand their roles and responsibilities helps them take positive actions without needing instructions.

Now, it isn’t unusual to provide charters that define the mission and deliverables for large-scale projects. In such large-scale projects, smaller charters can be used to organize teams and set their objectives, member’s roles, and set an operating agreement under which the entire team will work together. 

Team Charter

Most top executives may be more familiar with Project Charter than team charter, but team charter forms the cornerstone of the industrial process. For your team to start on the right foot, a team charter is the correct path to take because, through the charter, all team members know what’s expected of them and have a picture of the expected end.

We’ve stated earlier that the Team Charter is a document that defines a team’s overall objectives, resources, and constraints. A team charter clarifies the direction, sets timeline, milestones, hierarchy, roles, establishes boundaries, and also displays the path to success.

Though the team charter is usually ignored by several organizations, investing time in creating a great charter could save a lot of confusion, time, energy, and quality of work. The team charter is a road map that’s set up at the start of the project to ensure everyone is made aware of the trajectory of the team and to be a reference in difficult times during the project.

Basic Information in a Team Charter

The basic idea of team charter is to provide structure and direction to an organization’s sub-teams that are set on achieving group goals that in turn would affect the organization’s grand goals.

For this reason, every communication in the team charter document must reflect this basic information.

Context

Before creating your team charter, identify a need, or a problem that they’d need to find a solution to. This need is the context that not only births the charter but what it sets out to resolve.

To get the right context, start by asking these questions.

  • What is the problem?
  • What are the expected results?
  • Why are these results important to the overall objective of the organization?

Mission and Objectives

The whole idea of the charter is to provide a defined set of missions, objectives, and responsibilities. By putting the mission and objectives in writing with the Charter, your team knows what it should achieve because, without clear missions, individual members of your team would be out pursuing their independent agenda irrespective of the company’s grand goals.

Although it’s important to set goals, it’s more important to turn these goals into measurable objectives. Suitable milestones, critical targets, and a reasonable timeline should be put in place to ensure that these objectives and goals are met.

Composition and Roles

People make things happen. The right person in the right place can achieve any goal, while the wrong person in any position can ruin years of effort. So it’s important to get this aspect of delegation and authority right.

The idea is to create the most effective team and these teams must possess the following requirements:

  • Members with the requisite expertise and experience to execute the job.
  • Team members from a variety of different backgrounds will bring experience and approaches.
  • They have enough people to do the job, but not so many people that they get bogged down. Ideally, seven should be the standard number of people in a team.
  • They are represented by participating roles, divisions, groups, or other relevant stakeholder categories–possibly including the client, and senior management.

A great way of creating and assigning roles and responsibilities is to use the RACI Matrix, which is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed.

team charter
  • R – Responsible (those who works on the project
  • A – Accountable to
  • C – Consulted
  • I – Informed
  • Q – Quality Reviewer

By taking time to establish roles and hierarchy, you establish a team with structure and also avoiding any problem from miscommunication in the process.

Resources and Support Available

You must let your team know the tools available to them so they’ll know what they need to do to achieve the objectives you’ve set for them. The resources your team has encompasses budgets, time, services, individuals group members, and other tools needed to succeed in the task they’ve been given.

Changes to the appropriate services should periodically follow the performance reviews. In addition to this, it outlines the preparation and coaching assistance available to the team to assist it in doing its job.

Authority and Empowerment

The leadership roles we’ve talked about actually mean nothing if your team leaders don’t have a clear understanding of what they should do. After defining the roles, you now need to look at what team members can and can’t do to achieve the mission:

  • How much time should team members allocate to their mission, and what priority do team activities have relative to other ongoing activities?
  • How should team members resolve any conflicts between their day jobs and the team’s mission?
  • What budget is available, in terms of time and money?

It’s also here that you establish rules and boundaries for your team, to control their excesses so you won’t be needing a damage control unit.

Mode of Operations

Now that your team is acquainted with the mission, objectives, etc. it’s important your team members know their modus operandi. This should explain how the team will work on a day-to-day basis, their in-house meetings, and other necessary structural and functional activities.

It’s with this mode of operation that the culture for a long-duration team can be formed.  

Negotiation and Agreement

Your team shouldn’t exist differently from the organization and would need to negotiate and agree with other teams in the organization. While the goals, objectives, composition, roles, and other necessary structural implications are taken care of, it’s with negotiation through these existing rules that your team gets to achieving their goals.

Every member of the group needs to sign and agree to the conditions of the team charter. This symbolic gesture serves as a form of commitment within the group, cementing their interest to the goals and objectives of the group, while committing to respecting the boundaries, leadership, and other obligations the group has to make.

Review Process

Checks and balances are the souls of business success and we can’t do without them. Here you set a predetermined way to measure and analyze the achievements of your team.

You need to know at what point systematic evaluations take place during the team’s lifetime. Does this vary from how the evaluation process generally works in the company? How often, if needed, will the charter itself be checked and updated?

team charter

Sections of a Team Charter

From the image above, the team charter is divided into various sections which provide a brief overview of the goals, objectives, and roles of her members.

It’s quite important to know that practice templates of team charter are available online.

Team goal

To set an accurate team goal, you need to answer these questions:

  • What is the importance of bringing together these individuals?
  • What are the challenges they face and what would be an appropriate result?

Duration and time Duration 

it is important to record the period that the team will work together (for instance, is this a six-month timeframe?). The length of implementing these recommendations can require time outside the team’s meeting schedule, depending on the proposed solutions. The approximate amount of time that will be committed weekly or monthly is another factor to be considered.

Scale (In scale/Out of Scale) 

This scope tends to identify the beginning and end of the continuum, however, it can list included or excluded departments. The scope also allows the team leader to quickly define activities that are outside the scope when setting limits, mitigating the creep of the scope.

Members should be individually identified by the team leader and members. This offers appreciation and strengthens dedication. It’s also possible to list alternate members. It is important to appoint and list the team sponsor from the leadership group after the team members.

The Desired Result

This offers a chance to proceed with the end in mind. This is where you set targets for the team to accomplish. There is a need to identify the priorities. The extent of the shift becomes apparent by specifying the desired result.

Resource Help

Other individuals who were not assigned as team members but still add value to the overall mission are almost always included in the supporting services. The activities of the team (blueprints, meeting rooms, travel budgets, corporate authority, software, etc.) depend on other resources.

Project Reporting

This determines how success can be communicated by the team. Typically, the team has a higher authority to which they respond, and it is essential to communicate how the team operations are going and what challenges the team faces. The pace of reporting as well as content should be decided by the reporting schedule.

The Deliverables

Outputs are specified by this section. Key performance indicators (KPIs) that assess the expected result should be included. Immeasurable deliverables are removed early by considering the KPIs at this point. The records, the desired habits and a long-term audit mechanism that verifies the deliverables are in place should include the deliverables.

Link Over

Other divisions or organizational strategies that may conflict with the goal of the community are considered in this section. Key tools which are well-known subject matter experts (SMEs) in specific areas should also be included.

Benefits of a Team Charter

It’s more than just fussy bureaucracy to provide a team charter, generating paperwork that will be overlooked until the real work begins. It is about setting the foundations for a good team project, and some of the key advantages of a team charter are these:

Buy-In Gaining

They may be reluctant or nervous about being part of a new project if the team consists of current company workers. What project is it? Is it about to succeed? Am I going to have more duties? All of this is made clear by a strong team charter, enabling workers to buy-in and contribute more.

Team charter inculcates the idea of belonging to the members of the team and makes them more comfortable and willing to contribute ideas and constructive criticism.

Setting Up Positions and Obligations

Your team shouldn’t be sitting around wondering who’s responsible for what. For your team charter to be successful, your team charter should specify the exact roles and obligations of each member of the group, helping them to work even more effectively.

With team charter you’ll be able to try out potential members you’ll like to try out in a higher position and see how well they perform in managerial roles.

Demonstrating The Team’s Importance

When the team is formed and it achieves its goals, they must be recognized and appreciated for their efforts. With the team charter, there’s already a pre-set standard or goals to achieve, so both the management, the team, and other members of the organization can recognize their success.

The support and appreciation of other teams are needed by every team, so a team charter will help ensure that everyone else understands why this team deserves the accolade.  

Reducing Cases of Confusion

With the roles, responsibility, objectives, and goals of every member of the team clearly stated out, cases of confusion, distractions, misunderstanding, that you usually stall the activities of teams will be reduced and if they do occur, the members of the group know where to take these issues to.

Conclusion

In most organizations, team charters are not yet considered common procedures, but they certainly have an important role to play in the future of how we operate, especially with the growing need for meeting multiple marketing targets.

In a team charter, taking the time to prepare and record all sets up the team to have the opportunity to succeed and solve any obstacles the lie in its way. The more thought that goes into the team charter, the better, because the planning phase will illustrate possible problems before they have even had a chance to become problems, as stated a few times above.

Read more on Team Charter here.

While you’re still here, visit our discussion on Research Skills for Engineers.

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