Establishing Project Parameters: Project Charter vs Project Implementation Plan

The initial stages of a real estate or construction project are critical. It is the time when the client and the owner’s representative align on the overall project goals. Your project management team should take the time to truly understand your company, your culture, and what will make your project a success.

There are two documents that Watchdog project managers create to memorialize project goals and set the project on the right path for success: the Project Charter and the Project Implementation Plan.

 

Project Charter

The Project Charter defines the project in high level detail. It will capture the project facts: square footage, location, the type of the project (headquarters, regional office, etc.) and define the overall goals of the project. Goals might include:

  • Build a company headquarters which embraces all functions, business units and departments under one roof.
  • To provide a headquarters solution that is fiscally responsible to shareholders.
  • To build a facility that is operationally sustainable, both physically and financially.

It is important to memorialize these goals so that the client and project management team are on the same page and so that all consultants that are engaged throughout the project can easily understand and align themselves with the project goals.

The Project Charter will also include a detailed list of project stakeholders. This list defines the client’s internal team structure. It will detail who provides strategic direction, who approves key decisions, who allocates resources, who represents business functions etc.

The budget and schedule are also defined in this document. Key dates and activities are listed in a high-level project schedule, which is accompanied by a narrative detailing the project budget, funding sources, allocation, etc.

The overall goal of the charter is capture the key details of the project so that all stakeholders (client and consultants) are aligned.

 

Project Implementation Plan

The Project Implementation Plan (PIP) is more technical document which requires signatures and verifications. It captures some of the same project details from the Charter, but goes further to describe the implementation effort.

The PIP goes into greater detail about the roles of the project management team and who is responsible for what. Key activities of the project delivery will be detailed, as well as the effort and timing for each activity.  It explains which member of the project management team is responsible for leading the coordination of each phase of the project- design, core and shell construction, interiors, IT infrastructure, FF&E, relocation management and project close out.

This document gives the client a clear picture of what their project management team is doing throughout each phase of the project and holds your project management team accountable.

 

 

Katie Craven
Katie Craven is Marketing, Communication and Brand Manager at Watchdog Real Estate Project Managers, a real-estate consulting firm that provides owner’s representation and project management services. More about Watchdog Real Estate Project Managers as well as additional blog posts can be found here.
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