When Bruce Taylor and I wrote the Project Management Communications Bible back in 2008, one of the key parts of that book, that really never got the love it deserved was the planning sections for each of the tools.

Let me explain, in the book when we first introduce the communication tool (say project charter), we thought project managers could go through a series of planning questions around that tool that would help them understand how to use it better. Those questions included, Who, When, Why, How, What, etc. There were 10 questions noted for every tool.

Let’s relook at some of these planning questions now.

Let’s start with the Project Charter.

Project Charter Planning Questions:

  1. When would development of the project charter occur?
    1. During the initiation process (phase) of the project
  2. Who is going to use this tool, both from an input and output status?
    1. Upper management, owners, executives, project managers, team members, subcontractors, media
  3. Why are you going to use this tool?
    1. To communicate the scope, goals, and objectives of the project
  4. How are you going to use this tool?
    1. Upper Management will use documents to decide whether to proceed with a project, determine cost estimates, determine schedule estimates, determine proposed solutions, and determine needs. Project Managers will use it as an authorization to acquire the team members and utilize the budget allocated to the project.
  5. How will you distribute the information?
    1. Document format such as Microsoft Word, document control system, e-mail, in-person presentation
  6. When will you distribute the information?
    1. When selling the project to upper management or customers who need to approve the project, project kick-off meeting, on-demand
  7. What decisions can or should you make from this tool?
    1. Upper Management or customers make go/no go decision on the project, schedule decisions, cost decisions, resource and scope decisions; making all these from the tool
  8. What information does this tool provide for your project?
    1. The project charter provides an idea how long it may take, how much it may cost, identify technical challenges, comparisons of similar projects, if applicable
  9. What historical and legal information do you need to store?
    1. Decisions on why project was approved or rejected and lessons learned information
  10. What will be the staffing requirements (Role Type) to run and maintain these tools?
    1. Customer or sponsor, senior management, possibly the project manager.


Tell me your thoughts in the comments and let’s open a dialog. I would be excited to hear other opinions on this topic.

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Bill Dow

Bill Dow

Contributing Author

Bill Dow, PMP is a recognized expert in Project Management by the Project Management Institute (PMI) for specifically developing and managing Project Management Offices (PMOs.)  His extensive experience with Project Management and PMOs have enabled him to co-author several comprehensive books available through Amazon.com.

Bill has taught at the college level for more than 15 years in Washington State, British Columbia and Ontario, Canada, and has worked at Microsoft for more than 10 years.  He has spoken at multiple Project Management Institute (PMI) conferences, breakfasts and events nationally.  


"PMO Lifecycle: Building, Running, and Shutting Down,"  June 2017  (Amazon Link)

“Project Management Communications Tools,” May 2015 http://tinyurl.com/z5yt8mz  Co-authored with Bruce Taylor

“The Tactical Guide for Building a PMO,” August 2012,  http://tinyurl.com/z8y8bym

“Project Management Communications Bible,” June 2008 http://tinyurl.com/j2sn5bd  Co-authored with Bruce Taylor

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