GEOG 871
Geospatial Technology Project Management

Assignment 2 - Project Charter


Assignment 2 - Project Charter


Timing: This assignment spans Week 3
Submittal: Assignment 2 - The charter document is due at end of Week 4
Target Word Count: 800-1500 words (this is just a target to provide a general idea on 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 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 selected 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 supports 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 update.

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, 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 is completed).

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

  • Cover page with prominent title and all necessary information identifying the course, assignment, author, and date.
  • Name of project (identify the full project name from the RFP).
  • Brief description of what this Charter is and its purpose.
  • Summary of project background and purpose: Mention lead role of Public Works Department, overall objectives, and 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.
  • Brief summary of work: Include description of major project activities and deliverables but avoid too much technical detail.
  • 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*: 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 brief summary of the timing (dates) for key milestones. A detailed schedule for project tasks should NOT be included here just a few key milestones about project execution. Do NOT include all milestone dates associated with the RFP and procurement process--start with the beginning of the project (at the point of selection of the contractor).
  • 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 that the number is between $150,000 and $200,000. 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 800 to 1500 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

View specific directions for submitting Assignment 2.


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
  • 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 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
  • Effectiveness of document organization including section and subsection arrangement.
  • Logical progression of content allowing 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 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 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.
  • 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 consistent and easy to interpret bulleted entries.
  • Overall vertical and horizontal spacing (line spacing, indents, etc.).
  • Page breaking in manner that avoids disruption of content.
  • Properly formatted sign-off page
  • Spelling
  • Overall consistency of format throughout document.
  • EXCEPTIONAL: 7 to 8 points for an extremely well-formatted document which 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 selection of format rules and their consistent application between the “Exceptional” and “Very Poor” categories described above.