A project charter is a short and formal document that outlines the essential details of the project such as objectives, scope, stakeholders, etc. It is typically created at the start of a project’s planning stage, after the Statement of Work is defined, and just before the kickoff.
A project charter is derived from the SOW and defines the scope and objectives to help all stakeholders get on the same page. It gives the customer an idea of how the project team will achieve the objectives and gives the project manager the go-ahead to kick off the project.
A project charter is a big-picture document while the SOW is all about the details. A project charter focused on project objectives and expected outcomes. It is useful for large projects with multiple phases, where you’re more likely to lose track of the scope of the work between phases.