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Is Your Project Built On A Solid Foundation?

By Cerila Gailliard, PMP, CSM

When we think of a solid foundation, we are inclined to picture a house being built. We see the construction crew clearing away the site debris, digging holes and pouring concrete. Once the concrete is solid, the construction crew begins adding on to the foundation (e.g. framework, drywall, installation and plumbing) with confidence that there are no cracks.  

Just like in building the foundation of a house, building a successful foundation for a project in your business takes many layers of planning. I like to call this foundation a Project Charter.

For example, thoughtful consideration should be given to a restoration project where substantial fire or water damage has been sustained. One way to approach the many monumental tasks of such a job is to develop a well-defined document, or Project Charter, to serve as the project foundation to help you chart the tasks ahead.

A well-crafted Project Charter should have the following 10 components:

  1. Explain the project “why.”  What is the importance of the project and what will be the overall benefit once the project is completed?
  2. Document the project goals
  3. Summarize the initial project budget estimates
  4. Summarize the initial project completion date
  5. Document the initial resources required
  6. List the high-level project milestones
  7. List the high-level project requirements
  8. List all the individuals directly impacted by the project
  9. List some of the known project risks
  10. Assign a project manager to the project


A properly-crafted Project Charter with the above components will help guide the project manager and building team through the planning phase. However, if the Project Charter is missing critical information, the project will be faulty from the start.

A house built on a faulty foundation will, over time, exhibit cracks and leaks. This will cause the homeowner to spend a significant amount of time and money on repairs.  During a project, the cracks and leaks are symbols of unclear goals and requirements, not enough or too many resources and constant project changes. A thorough Project Charter document will help foster a successful project from inception to completion.

The next time a new project commences, ask yourself, “Is this project being built on a solid foundation?”   


Cerila Gailliard is the owner of Orchestrating Your Success LLC, helping businesses manage small and complex projects to ensure they are effectively and efficiently executed. Cerilia is also a certified project management professional consultant. 




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