Team charters are typically created in groups, and the members of the team are involved in the process. Team leaders will facilitate the discussion and ask key questions to help define the critical elements of the team. The initial “chartering discussion” or brainstorming should also be recorded. A designated member of the team or subgroup will then work to combine and adapt your team’s agreement on these questions into one formal document. The team charter can be displayed for future reference in areas such as a shared workspace or posted electronically.
What are Team Charters?
The team charter is a document that defines the goals of the group, the way it will operate, and the outcomes expected. The team and sponsors will create a “roadmap” at the start of the journey. This is to ensure that everyone involved knows where they are going and can give guidance when things get difficult.
Team Charters are important to ensure that teams get “off on the right foot” when they form. It is important that the team members are focused on the same things right from the beginning. A team charter is also useful when a group is struggling and the members need to get back on track.
What is the purpose of a charter for a team?
A team charter or work chart is a document that documents the team’s objectives, constraints, and resources. This tool can be used to establish a new team or to revitalize an old one.
How can I keep my team focused using a team charter?
You can refer to your team charter periodically to ensure that your team is meeting the agreed-upon goals. Consider the following questions as a group and revisit it periodically.
- Does our work reflect the stated purpose of our organization? Are we still on track with our stated purpose, or have we become distracted?
- Are we meeting our team’s needs? Are we meeting the expectations of our stakeholders? Do we have a good working relationship with those who depend on our work?
- Do we have a clear understanding of our roles and do they get carried out? Do we make good use of different perspectives?
- Are our work processes effective? Do we adhere to our charter? Why not? What new processes could we implement to make us more efficient?
- Are we making decisions efficiently and effectively? Do we include the right amount of input? What frustrations or surprises have we experienced? What could we have done differently?
- How effective is our communication strategy? Do we stick to it? What are the most effective methods? What do we not do so well?
- Do we live up to the standards we set? Do they help us achieve our goals? What norms would we like to add? Delete? What can we do better in the future to make it better?
- Do the results of our efforts show that we are on track to reach our goals? Are there any obstacles to our success?
If your team agrees on any necessary changes or additions, always update the team charter. The team charter can then continue to be a valuable resource for your team and organization over the coming weeks, months, and years.
How to Create a Team Charter
The exact format of team charters can vary from one team to another and from one situation to another. While the charter itself can be in many different forms, the Charter’s value comes from defining and agreeing on the various elements.
Adapt the elements below to your team’s specific situation.
- Mission and objectives
- Composition and roles
- Authority and Boundaries
- Resources and Support
- Negotiation and Agreement
The Context of team formation
The charter is introduced here. The charter explains why the team was created, what problem they are trying to solve, and how it fits into the larger objectives of the organization. It also outlines the possible consequences of not addressing the problem.
- What is the problem being addressed?
- What is the expected result or deliverable?
- Why is it important?
Mission and objectives of the team
This section is the core of the Charter. The team will know what to do by defining its mission. A clear mission will help individuals to focus on their goals, sometimes even ignoring the overall goal.
- Interview country managers and product managers to determine why they believe countries do not work together. The CEO must receive the survey by March 31.
- Prepare first draft proposals and submit to CEO by April 15
- Present the proposals at the regional management meeting scheduled for April 25.
- By May 15, you must present your costed plan.
Composition of the team and its roles
Teams perform best when:
- The members of the group have the necessary skills and experience to perform the task.
- Members of the team can have a variety of backgrounds and bring a wide range of experience.
- The number of employees is sufficient to complete the task, but not too many so communication becomes a problem (seven people are ideal).
- The team has representatives from the relevant departments, functions, units, or other stakeholders (possibly senior management and/or the client of the team).
You can use your mission and goals to decide who you need on your team.
You need to know what each member will do to help the team achieve its goal. This may seem excessive at the beginning, but it will be helpful.
- Team members should be matched to their roles.
- Identify the skills and abilities needed for your team to achieve its goals.
It is best to define each member’s role and responsibilities.
- Who will be your team leader?
- Who is the contact person between the team members and other stakeholders?
- Who is responsible and for what outcomes?
The team will consist of senior representatives of each of the global regions, HR and the Information Systems Department, as well as the Organizational Structure Committee, Finance Team, and the HR department. The team will be able to develop innovative solutions for problems that remain unsolved thanks to the wide range of knowledge and skills.
Sally Vickers is now the Team Leader. She is responsible for:
- Assuring that this Team Charter will be adhered to.
- Manage the daily operations of the group and its deliverables.
- Budget management is a key part of managing your budget.
- Supporting and assisting individual team members.
- Weekly status reports are provided to the CEO.
Authority and Empowerment
You now need to define the team roles and what each member can do.
- What is the priority of team activities in relation to other activities and how much time should members devote to the team’s mission?
- What should team members do if they have conflicts between their work and team missions?
- How much time and money are available?
- Can the team recruit more team members?
- What can and cannot the team do? And what do they need to get prior approval for?
Team Resources and Support
This section outlines the resources that the team has to achieve its goals. This section includes budgets and time, as well as equipment and people. Changes in the required resources should be regularly monitored, along with performance assessments.
It also outlines the coaching and training support that is available to the team in order to assist it with its work.
This section describes how the team will work on a daily basis. It can be as comprehensive or minimal as necessary. This can be as detailed and comprehensive for a long-term team or only a few bullets for a team with a shorter lifespan.
Example: Team meetings
- The first meeting of the team will take place on Monday, 28th February at 2:00 pm.
- The team will be meeting every Monday from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm for the duration.
- Each member will be expected to give a brief status report on the part of the project that he or she works on.
- A member who is not able to attend must notify the team leader or someone else to inform them of the situation and to communicate any further expectations.
- Jim will prepare a summary of every meeting and email it to all members the morning after the meeting.
Negotiation and Agreement
Negotiation is the natural way to create a good Team Charter. Clients establish the Context and Mission. Negotiation between the sponsor and the team leader is ideal for determining the objectives, composition, roles, and boundaries, as well as the resources.
Negotiation is the term we’re using here. Success is based on three things:
- Discuss the mission of the Team Charter and the Team Charter with your team members and the team leader.
- Negotiation between the sponsor and team leader is necessary to ensure the success of the mission and the deployment of sufficient resources.
- Sponsorship to ensure these resources are actually made available.
Although these discussions may seem like polite conversations between superiors and subordinates, in the beginning, they are actually negotiations. The team must believe in the mission and be committed to it.
The last step is approval. All team members must sign the Charter, committing to its principles and roles, and responsibilities.
It is a symbol that shows a full commitment to its mission and goals. This also creates accountability towards each other and the organization.
Negotiating a Team Charter before the start of a team project will set it up for success. By negotiating a Team Charter at the beginning of a project, you set up team projects for success.
By negotiating the Charter with assertiveness, all parties will be able to shape the project in a way that gives it a high chance of success. They can then commit themselves fully to the success of the project.
A Team Charter is also a useful tool to fix a dysfunctional group. The objectives can be clarified, the goals agreed upon, the roles aligned and the resources recommitted. After fair negotiations, you can ask people to sign the Team Charter and manage them appropriately.