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How to write an Agile project charter

An Agile team charter is a guiding document that outlines the overall mission, goals, values, and operational scope of an Agile team. It is used to keep teams on track as they undertake various Agile projects, ensuring they do not stray too far from their original purpose. It can also help to eliminate confusion and create a universal understanding of all aspects of project work. An Agile team charter is similar to an Agile project charter, but the latter focuses solely on a specific project’s objectives. 

So, how do you write an Agile charter for your team? Here are a few steps to follow:  

1: Schedule a team meeting

First things first, get your team members together to discuss your charter. Put a meeting date in your shared team calendar and invite participants.

2: Hold a brainstorming session

This is a great collaborative exercise that will get your team members fully invested in their mission. Grab a whiteboard and brainstorm a list of the most important words to be included in your Agile team charter.

3: Prepare a mission statement

This will be the guiding motto of your Agile team. Outline what you aim to do and why. Keep your mission statement short and sweet so that it can be easily remembered. You can go into more detail in other areas of your Agile charter. Take a look at LinkedIn’s mission statement as an example: “Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” 

4: Establish a code of conduct

Within every team, it is essential to have a set of rules and best practices, so every member feels safe and comfortable in their working environment. Get feedback from your employees to find out what is important to them before preparing your code of conduct.

5: Determine your scope

Make sure the operational scope of your team is abundantly clear in your Agile charter. You should clearly outline what your team is responsible for, including the various roles involved, to prevent scope creep.

6: Outline your goals

What does your team hope to achieve? Write down your objectives and key results and how you hope to get there. While your goals should be aspirational, try and keep them realistic to avoid failure.

7: Choose an Agile framework

How are you going to achieve your goals? Your team needs a set of processes to follow. Document your workflow with the help of an Agile project management framework.

 An Agile project charter will include many of the above steps, but additional information will be required for the following factors:

Keep the Agile Manifesto in mind when writing your Agile team charter to ensure your mission is aligned with the values and principles of Agile. Another key point to remember is that your Agile team charter should be a living document. While it does not require systematic rewrites, you should review and update it regularly to adapt to changing circumstances, such as the addition of new team members.