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Organizational Excellence

Project Startup Guidance

The front-end formation stage of an improvement project makes all the difference. When projects are wisely scoped and well chartered, the effort is set up for success. An improvement practitioner from the Office of Organizational Excellence can help with this crucial first step – guiding the process to define the project and develop the charter.

Guidance for Chartering Improvement Projects

Development of a project charter is the first and best opportunity to set up an improvement project for success. By thinking through and deciding key elements before the project begins – project purpose, goals,  team participants, responsibilities, and more – you end up with a roadmap that keeps everyone on track and moving in the same direction from the start.

The Office of Organizational Excellence guides charter development for improvement projects it facilitates – and it can provide guidance as well for additional improvement projects that will be self-led within units. Fill-save charter templates are available for process improvement projects [pdf] and resource optimization projects [pdf].

Charter Contents

A charter for an improvement project typically includes:

Title: What process (for a process improvement project) or what function or capability (for a resource optimization project) is the focus of this project?

Background: Why is this project being undertaken? (business need)

Goals: What is this project aiming to achieve? (more specific than background)

Scope: Are there limits or boundaries for the team? (For resource optimization projects in particular, it can be important to define what is covered and not covered by the project. For process improvement projects, it's a matter of clearly defining the process that's being improved.)

Project Sponsor(s) Clarify the scope, develop the charter, communicate with other areas as needed, provide ongoing support as needed
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Team Leader(s) Keep the sponsor updated. Gather needed data. Contact SMEs when their input is needed by the team. Serve as a contact for the facilitator outside of team sessions. After the improvement sessions: Coordinate implementation. Take action as needed to keep implementation on track.
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Team Members Actively participate in all improvement sessions.
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Facilitator Guide the team during its improvement sessions.
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SMEs Available as needed to answer questions and provide additional input needed by the team.

High-level overview of the major steps or phases in the process being improved, along with a summary of inputs into the process, who provides those inputs ("suppliers"), outputs delivered by the process, and who needs and wants those output (“customers”). 

How will the project unfold? What milestones will be achieved and by when?

Most improvement teams use a three-stage process of discovery, possibility, and planning – which is immediately followed by implementation.


Organizational Excellence

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