Evaluation and application of a project charter template to improve the project planning process

Innovation and project management formation are best accomplished in the early stage of a project. The project charter is important to the success of a project, transforming agreements and facts into a documented project management approach. This output begins to organize and document a project's need and expected outcomes at the beginning of the project management process and provides a foundation on which to base project decisions. This paper evaluates the completeness and effectiveness of a project charter template as a project management tool. In addition, a project charter is developed for an information system development project initiated by a hospital-based clinical laboratory, addressing the problem of a complete lack of a repeatable project management process within an entity whose adaptation of formal project management methods is immature. A section-by-section assessment of the justification for inclusion in the Tryon and Associates Project Charter (Tryon and Associates, 1998) adopted by St. John Medical Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma USA, based upon a review of project management literature, is accomplished. In addition, a working project charter for use in the planning phase of one of Regional Medical Laboratory's (RML) current information system development projects-RML Turnaround Time System-is constructed and evaluated. This study of project charter components, combined with the development of a formal planning document for an authentic project in progress, provides an opportunity to introduce, validate, and integrate the concept of a formalized project initiation process.
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