When launching any improvement initiative, the first step is typically forming a team that can get down to the work of getting the job done. To get things off on the right step, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a team charter. This is true for new agile teams, quality teams and any improvement initiatives when more than one person is needed to get results.
Why, because creating a charter makes sure that proper thought is devoted to the define the problem, set goals, scope and approach, and identify the people and other resources that are necessary to be successful. This simple step forces initial action that sets teams up for long term success.
- Team Name
- Problem Statement/Business Case (why team created)
- Scope (what will and will not be addressed by team)
- Team’s Customers and their needs (how will the team define success)
- Team Leader (and champion/sponsor if different)
- Team Members (with expertise and time commitments for each)
- Specific Objectives and How Measured (updated monthly or quarterly)
- How you will work together (methods, norms, expectations, guiding principles)
- Plan (initial team duration, activity backlog/tasks, milestones, meeting schedule, stakeholders and communication expectations – updated as needed)
- Resource needs (other people, budget, tools, etc.)
The charter creation process should start by having sponsors designate an initial team for the initiative. This team builds each of the above bullet points collaboratively and works with the sponsor and others as needed to gain agreement. Having a team charter at the end of this exercise documents and communicates a team’s purpose. More importantly, the process of creating and maintaining the charter builds understanding of and broad commitment to that purpose.