Agile Team Charter Overview
In Agile project management, the Team Charter can be thought of as the foundation upon which all of the team’s work, rules, tools, and behaviors are built. Unlike traditional project management, where a charter defines the project scope and success criteria, often pre-determined by senior management/sponsors, an Agile Team Charter is built and agreed upon by the project team exclusively. The results of the project team directly contributing to and building the charter are immediate buy-in and a vested interest in the success of the project. When project team members are able to directly contribute to and influence a project, they will be much more motivated for success.
What Does the Agile Team Charter Include?
There is no standard or universal template for an Agile Team Charter. One of the reasons for this is Agile’s emphasis on people instead of processes. Additionally, there’s more of a focus on interpersonal communication over formalized documentation in an Agile project environment. Some practitioners interpret the Team Charter to be a tool that strictly applies to the team’s dynamics, communication, and rules of behavior. Other practitioners incorporate these characteristics as well as the project’s vision, goals/objectives, mission, or success criteria. The items included in the Team Charter may be a result of experience or organizational practices. For the purposes of this Agile Team Charter Template, we will incorporate sections for both the high-level project specific information and the interpersonal team dynamics into one document.
It is also important that the Team Charter be readily available or prominently posted in a team room so all team members have immediate access to it. It can be distributed to each team member on paper, drawn on a dry erase board, or posted on flip charts in the team room where everyone can see it at any time. Having the Team Charter available and visible will aid team project meetings when it is necessary to discuss any project information that is listed in the charter.
Project Specific Information
As Agile project management is iterative by nature and evolves throughout the project lifecycle, there is not much need for a great level of detail in the charter. In fact, since the charter is created in the beginning of the project, the team may not even know or understand a great level of detail yet. The project specific information that is included in the charter should be limited to a high level vision (why the project has been initiated), a description of the mission or objectives, and what criteria constitute success for the project. All of this information is at a high enough level that it should be known to the project team at the outset of the project.
Interpersonal Team Dynamics Information
Because Agile relies so much on a total team concept of buy-in and interpersonal communications, this section is an extremely important part of the charter. This portion of the team charter should describe the names and roles of project team members, how, when, and where team communications will occur, and the rules of behavior for the group. It is important that all team members contribute to these sections of the charter as this provides a sense of ownership for the team. The team must encourage contribution and feedback from all team members in order to provide a sense of ownership for the Team Charter.
Sample Agile Team Charter
Below is a sample Team Charter for an Agile project. Again, while there is no standard template for what should/should not be included, this represents a general approach and good starting point. Based on the project type, team experience, and organizational standards, this sample may be adjusted as necessary to accomplish your team’s specific intent.
Project Name: Invoice Tracking Database
Vision: Help the billing department reduce the number of monthly past-due accounts by providing an easy to use platform for tracking accounts receivable.
Mission: Create an invoice tracking database that enables billing employees to view real-time account statuses, engage vendors proactively to resolve accounts, and generate weekly and monthly account reports.
- Implement database by March 1, 20xx
- Reduce monthly past-due accounts by 75% after 3 months
- Achieve > 80% favoriability among billing employees via survey after 3 months
Rules of Behavior:
- All team members will treat each other with respect at all times
- Constructive feedback is a valuable part of our success so we will not take offense and all team members will ensure all feedback is provided in a constructive manner
- Open communication among the team is always welcomed and valued
- We will recognize and celebrate all individual and team accomplishments
- All personal cell phones will be turned off prior to beginning any of our meetings or discussions
- We will accept responsibility and be accountable for our actions
- We will give consideration to whomever is speaking and avoid sidebars or speaking over one another
- We will work collaboratively when possible and use a consensus approach when making team decisions
- We will hold regular daily meetings in the team room at 9am each work day
- We will make every effort to attend all scheduled meetings in person (exceptions being scheduled and/or sick leave)
- We will update our tasks on the kanban board each work day morning before 9am
- Meeting minutes will be sent out within 24 hours of each meeting
- The responsibility for meeting scribe will be shared by all team members on a rotating basis
- If a meeting must be cancelled or additional meetings are required, the Product Owner will send out notifications as early as possible
- All team members are expected to be on time for all meetings