The Project Charter and Define Phase Are Inseparable

When working towards process improvements, believe it or not, the Define phase of DMAIC takes on an extra level of importance. Why? Well, you can’t assume that everyone is going to interpret the cause of the issue or problem in the same way. So the structured template of the Define phase covers all bases.

The Define phase will provide:

  • A clear understanding of the process issues
  • The improvement goals
  • The actions that are going to be taken for change

To help elaborate on the Define phase, the Project Charter becomes a necessary tool. Think of the Project Charter as a contract, with an added glossary between the project leaders and project team.

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The Project Charter should include:

  • Background & Purpose: a clear concise description of the issue and how it is affecting the business in its importance, issues with the current process, reasons stated for the project
  • Mission Statement: A concise statement of the purpose of the project and goals expected to achieve as well as the direction of action planned
  • Scope: This should include but not limited to:
    1. Boundaries & limitations
    2. Expect Project goals
    3. Timeline of steps
    4. Deliverables of said project when completed
    5. Detailed cost estimates of project
    6. Organizational interfaces, departments or groups affected by said project
    7. Urgency of the project
  • Team Involved and Roles: List of members and areas of expertise, including external stakeholders, everyone on the project and teams that should be included.
  • Operational Framework: This should include locations, accountability, the decision-making process that is protocol, and what methods are to be used for conflict resolution
  • Performance Measures: Measure for team performance, deadlines, process efficiency measures, outcome measures or goals achieved for the project
  • Support Requirements: Any outside support needed such as consultants, outside systems or even vendors 

When using the Project Charter, the Define phase achieves an outstanding level of clarity for all involved.

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