The team charter is a written agreement that spells out the charge given to the team and the responsibilities of all the people involved. It should be discussed, agreed to, and then signed by all the members of the team, the management sponsors, and other appropriate people.
The charter should include the following elements at a minimum:
- A description of the problem that the team is to address or their charge for existence.
- All expected outcomes of the team effort.
- All parameters relevant to the effort: staff resources available, use of a facilitator, available or required training, technical support available, deadlines or time constraints, other groups who need to be consulted, options which are “off the table”, and decision-making authorities.
- Decision-making process to be used by the team.
- Method by which the team will communicate with management and other key stakeholders.
- Names, roles and responsibilities of all team members, management sponsors, the facilitator, and other appropriate people.
The covenants worksheet that follows the charter is optional. Teams should at the very least cover some of the elements in the covenants such as: encouraged group behaviors and norms, meeting frequency, conflict strategies, and roles of the team. While not all of the sections are relevant to each team, working through them will help the team address problems in advance. It is up to the individual team to decide which sections they wish to use.
Steps in the Creation of the Charter:
1)Overview of the work this team will do:
- Underlying purpose of the work
- Scope of work and expected outcomes (i.e. no complaints from constituents)
- Key processes and functions for which they are responsible
- Discuss boundaries, constraints or limitations
2)Explain why the team’s work is important to this organization and why each team member was selected.
3) Share background information that may be relevant--what is going on in the program and other programs in the organization that may be important to the teams’ work plan. Provide customer information, requirements, and needs that may help the team’s efforts.
4)The draft language of the charter can begin with the team. Once the team has completed its draft, they forward it to their management sponsor for input. If there are any changes, the team reviews it again. Once the language is satisfactory to both groups, then they all sign it.
Without a charter, the team risks going off in a direction that does not have the support of management. Without spelling out the roles and responsibilities, things can fall through the cracks, or be duplicated. The covenants set out the group norms, without which the team misses a critical step in the formation of any team. Working through the norms prompts discussion about accountability, communication paths, schedules, and other logistical and interpersonal items that are necessary for the team to function efficiently.
TEAM CHARTER WORKSHEET
(for use by a team in drafting their charter)
1) This is an agreement between ______(sponsor) and the members of the ______team. The members of the team are:
2) (sponsor) has given our team the following charge:
3) Our charge is important to the success of the program mission or goals because:
4) To succeed in our charge, we are responsible for developing, conducting and continuously improving the following key processes:
5) For each of those processes (sponsor) expects certain measurable results. The following is a list of the results to be obtained for each process, and the way that we will measure our progress toward achieving those results:
6) (sponsor) will help ensure our success by working with us to obtain the resources we need to carry out our charge. At this time, the resources available to us are:
7) (sponsor) has authorized us to make the following decisions as a team:
8) (sponsor) has asked that we consult with them before making the following decisions:
9) We will communicate with (sponsor) by:
10) We will communicate with other key stakeholders (managers, other key locations or functions) by:
11) List any other agreements made between the team and the sponsor
In signing this charter, we are committing ourselves to work as a team in concert with our sponsor to accomplish our charge and support the vision, mission, values and goals of this organization.
(Signatures of team members and sponsor)
TEAM COVENANT WORKSHEET
(for use by a team in drafting their covenants)
1. The name of our team is ______
2. Our mission, according to the charter with our sponsor, is to
1. Who is the team leader? ______
2. What do we expect of the team leader?
TEAM MEMBER BEHAVIOR
1. In our interactions with each other, how will we treat each other? What behaviors are encouraged? What behaviors are taboo?
2. How will we interact and communicate with our internal customers?
3. What principles will guide our interactions with our external customers? How will we communicate with them?
4. What principles will guide our interactions with our stakeholders? How will we communicate with them?
MEETINGS, TEAM FACILITATOR, TEAM RECORDER
1. When, where and how often will we meet as a team?
2. How will we develop the meeting agenda?
3. What ground rules will we use during the meeting?
4. Who will facilitate meetings? ______
5. Who will record the decisions/assignments/things to follow up on?
6. What will we do if we think we need a special team meeting?
- What can we expect from each other when we have assignments?
- When push comes to shove on priorities, how will we handle conflicts?
- What other roles are assigned to team members? (List each role, the person to whom assigned, and the expectations the team has of that person).
1. What kind of decisions can be made by an individual team member?
2. What kind of decisions must be brought to the whole team?
3. How will we make decisions as a team?
4. How do we define “consensus”?
5. What will we do if we cannot reach a consensus? How will we support team decisions even if we don't 100% agree with them?
1. How will we address conflict between team members?
2. When should we seek help with a conflict? From whom?
EVALUATING OUR WORK
1. When and how often will we evaluate our work?
2. What process will we use to evaluate our work?