GEOG 871
Geospatial Technology Project Management

Assignment #2 - Project Charter


Assignment #2 - Project Charter

Assignment #2 Overview

Submittal: See Canvas Calendar for Submittal Date
Target Word Count: 1000-1800 words (this is just a target to provide a general idea on the level of detail)
Total Points: 50 points - see rubric for specific details

Assignment #2 is to create a project charter for the City of Metropolis Geodatabase Design and Development Project.

In this scenario, you are the City's project manager (Lucille Geodata in the Public Works Department) assigned responsibility for the City of Metropolis Geodatabase Development Project. The City of Metropolis RFP for contractor services was prepared by you and other City project team members. This request for proposal (RFP) document provides details information about the project scope and management and is the formal means for soliciting proposals from and selecting a contractor to carry out project work in collaboration with the City's project team. As stated in Section 1 of the RFP, the project involves the development of an ArcGIS geodatabase (that contains up-to-date data on City signs, pedestrian walk signal devices, and ADA pedestrian hazards) AND custom GIS applications that support future City access and update of the data. Work includes database design, evaluation and use of existing data sources, field data collection, and application development for ongoing City database updates.

As City Project Manager, it is your responsibility to create a charter for this project as a way to summarize the project scope, timing, resources, management, business case, and confirm commitments from key City stakeholders. The sponsor of this project, the Director of the City's Public Works Department, has asked you to prepare the project charter.

Your Submittal for Assignment #2

For Assignment 2, create a charter for the City of Metropolis geodatabase design and development project. The Charter serves the key role of providing a high-level description of the project, its benefits for the City, and commitment of resources (monetary and staff time) for carrying out the project. This commitment of resources positions the charter as a type of “internal contract” documenting the formal participation of commitment of resources by the various stakeholders (City management and participating departments). The charter, therefore, is not just a summary of elements from the RFP; it should persuade upper management that the project is good for the organization and that it’s worth the commitment of the required resources.

You know from the course content and readings in Lesson 3 that there is not a single prescribed format for a project Charter, but the general rule is that it is a high-level document—concise and aimed at senior management, not technical staff.  This is a City document--the selected contractor is not involved.  You should assume that this charter is prepared at a date prior to any selection of a contractor (although the RFP document preparation is in progress).

At a minimum, the Charter should include the following topics and parts:

  • Cover page with a prominent title and all necessary information identifying the course, assignment, author, and date. The main title of the document should be "PROJECT CHARTER". The Cover Page should also reference "City of Metropolis" and the full project name. At the bottom of the Cover Page (right side is best), include the course name and number, assignment number, your name, and date.
  • Table of contents.
  • Brief description of what this Charter is and its purpose.
  • Summary of project background and purpose: Mention the lead role of the Public Works Department, overall objectives, and the decision to use contracted services (via RFP) to carry out major work elements of the project. Emphasize that this is a City project--the Public Works Department is the lead but other City Departments are involved and the project has benefits to the City overall as well as citizens and the business community. Mention that the City intends to hire a private contractor to do much of the work and coordinate with the City Project Team--an RFP is in preparation at the time of this Charter (the RFP has not yet been released and the City has not yet selected a contractor).
  • Summary of project scope and deliverables: Include a description of major project activities and deliverables but avoid too much technical detail (but assume that most of the readers and signers of this Charter do not know much about the project so sufficient background and scope information is important).
  • Project stakeholders and organization: Identify the City sponsor, Departmental participants (those City Departments that have staff people assigned to the project team), and the overall project team organization. A project organization chart is a good way to present this.
  • Business case and main benefits*: Begin with a strong statement about why the City is launching this project (e.g., incomplete and poor quality data causing problems with operations and regulatory compliance). A concise identification of benefits that the City and general public will get from the project results. The RFP document hints at some of these. There is no need to provide a lot of detail, but this is an opportunity to “make the case” for the allocation of resources (time and money) for this project. A bullet point list is a good way to identify specific benefits.
  • Anticipated timing: This is a summary of the timing (dates) for key milestones for main activities and deliverables during the project. A detailed schedule for project tasks should NOT be included here just a few key milestones about project execution. Do NOT include milestone dates associated with the RFP and procurement process (e.g., RFP Release, Questions from respondents, proposal submittal due date)--start with the beginning of the project (see anticipated start date in the RFP).  It is appropriate to include 5 to 10 project execution milestones and dates.
  • Project budget: This is just a statement of the projected cost for contracted services. Don’t worry about coming up with a detailed budget—we will do that in Lesson 6. Just assume that a budget has already been approved and a project budget cap of $250,000 has been allocated. Put in a single dollar amount. Make sure to state that this number is just for contracted services (for contractor to be selected through the RFP process), not costs for City project team staff or expenses.
  • Formal sign-off: Identification of key senior management from the City departments that are formally involved and are committing resources for the project. In addition to the main sponsor and Departmental participants, it is not a bad idea to include City leadership (e.g., City Manager). The Charter should have actual signature blocks for senior management people (identifying their affiliations and titles).

*There is no existing document with a list of benefits for this project, so you have to do some of your own "brainstorming". See Croswell, Section 2.6 to get some ideas about defining GIS benefits.  For this project, one obvious benefit is greater efficiency and reduction in staff time for maintaining signs and signals. But there are other benefits too. Have some fun with this and come up with a bullet list of benefits that impact City departments as well as a broader community (e.g., business community and citizens).

The Assignment #2 submittal should be about 1000 to 1800 words in length. As is the case for all written assignments, the word count is a target to give you an idea about the level of detail expected. As a general rule, it is best to keep it concise and as brief as possible, while still covering the necessary topics. No points will be deducted for submittals if they exceed the maximum word count by a small amount.

You can include other information in the Charter but, remember to keep it concise, high-level, and to avoid technical detail. It is good practice to make reference to any important external sources or documents (e.g., the City’s RFP). 

As in all written assignments, you should include a cover page which includes the following information: a) course number and name, b) assignment number and name, c) your name, d) submittal date. The cover page should also have the full project name and document title ("Project Charter"). Your submitted assignment should be formatted as specified in the Format Quality of this assignment’s rubric below to earn maximum points. As you prepare this assignment, START WITH AN OUTLINE, with sections and subsections that cover the topics above. We recommend that you use the Outline/Heading feature of your word processing software in document preparation. It is expected that you will organize the document into numbered and named sections. It is best practice today, for technical and management documents to use a "decimal" outline numbering scheme (1., 1.1, etc.) as opposed to the older Roman numeral numbering approach. Submitting the Assignment

Assignment Submittal and Grading

View specific directions for submitting Assignment #2 and the Canvas calendar due date.

This assignment is worth 50 points. The grading approach is explained in the table below.

 The instructor may deduct points if the Assignment is turned in late unless a late submittal has been approved by the Instructor prior to the Assignment submittal date.

Assignment #2 Grading Rubric
Grading Category Basis for Scoring Total Possible Points

Point Award Explanation

A. Inclusion of Required Content
  • Cover page and table of contents.
  • Inclusion of elements and required topics in the assignment description.
  • Quality and correctness of description and presentation of topics.
  • Creative ideas that enhance the Charter (e.g. strong business case, optimization of resources, etc.).
  • EXCEPTIONAL: 17 to 18 points if all required elements and topics are covered with a fully complete, correct, astute, and well-worded presentation.
  • INADEQUATE: 1 to 2 points if the majority of content is missing and the description is not complete or correct.
  • MINIMALLY ADEQUATE to VERY GOOD: 3 to 16 points for lack of inclusion of content and/or quality/correctness deficiencies between the “Exceptional” and “Inadequate” categories described above.
B. Overall Document Organization
  • Cover Page (see explanation above) and table of contents
  • Effectiveness of document organization including section and subsection arrangement.
  • Logical progression of content allowing the reader to easily follow discussion.
  • Support of ideas from external references and/or other sections of the report.
  • EXCEPTIONAL: 11 to 12 points for an extremely well-organized and presented document that easily conveys meaning and message to the reader.
  • INADEQUATE: 1 to 2 points if the organization and logical progression is so deficient that content and message is significantly lost on the reader.
  • MINIMALLY ADEQUATE to VERY GOOD: 3 to 10 points for organization and/or logical progression deficiencies between the “Exceptional” and “Inadequate” categories described above.
C. Quality/Clarity of Writing Writing quality and clarity refers to how well and effectively words and sentences to convey meaning to the reader including the following:
  • Statement of purpose and introduction that sets context for rest of document.
  • Good, appropriate choice of words.
  • Sentence construction and lack of grammar and syntax problems.
  • Concise and to the point without redundancy.
  • Length appropriate to the stated requirements without significantly exceeding stated word count.
  • EXCEPTIONAL: 11 to 12 points for a very clear, extremely well-written document, with no or insignificant problems in word choice, grammar, etc.
  • INADEQUATE: 1 to 2 points with significant, frequent problems in the introduction, word choice, sentence construction, grammar, and length
  • MINIMALLY ADEQUATE to VERY GOOD: 3 to 10 points for deficiencies in writing quality of clarity between the “Exceptional” and “Inadequate” categories described above.
D. Format Quality Well-formatted document helps convey content and meaning to the reading. Important format parameters include:
  • Inclusion of cover page with all necessary information about the title of the document ("Project Charter" with full name of the project), course, assignment, author, and date.
  • Page numbering.
  • Use of numbering for sections and subsections.
  • Choice of fonts (type, style, size for headings and body).
  • Table and figure format (consistent and easy to read and digest).
  • Tables and figures are named, numbered, and referenced in the body of document.
  • Table column width and row height setting and effective use of table borders and shading,
  • Bullet point list spacing is consistent and easy to interpret bulleted entries.
  • Overall vertical and horizontal spacing (line spacing, indents, etc.).
  • Page breaking in a manner that avoids disruption of content.
  • Properly formatted sign-off page
  • Spelling.
  • Overall consistency of format throughout the document.
  • EXCEPTIONAL: 7 to 8 points for an extremely well-formatted document that is attractive; uses very effective text, table, and graphic formatting; format rules are applied consistently throughout; and overall presentation makes it easy for the reader to navigate and grasp content.
  • INADEQUATE: 1 to 2 points with significant and frequent problems in multiple format parameters to the point where the document is distracting and very hard to understand.
  • MINIMALLY ADEQUATE to VERY GOOD: 3 to 6 points for deficiencies in the selection of format rules and their consistent application between the “Exceptional” and “Very Poor” categories described above.