Developing a Team Charter

Before you can even begin your project, it is important to develop guidelines, expectations, and ways of assessing work and troubleshooting issues. To do this, you might develop what is called a team “charter,” or “contract.” Doing this enables everyone in the group to contribute to what the group’s project and work will look like, it develops a system of accountability/who will do what, and it also establishes how to confront issues or problems that might emerge.

Questions to Consider

For developing a team charter, here are some guided points/questions that your team might consider:

  1. Overall, broad team goals for the project 
  2. Measurable, specific team goals
  3. Personal goals
  4. Individual level of commitment to the project
  5. Role of each team member
  6. Other information about team members that may affect the project
  7. Statement of how the team will resolve impasses
  8. Statement of how the team will handle missed deadlines
  9. Statement of what constitutes unacceptable work and how the team will handle this

Process to Create Your Team Charter

Your entire team should decide what ideas you wish to address. What are the most important/relevant questions to the work you will be doing as a group? Maybe it’s all of them. Maybe it’s only four of them. However, you should answer the questions your instructor advises. We especially recommend that you create your own working deadlines rather than simply using the assigned deadlines. In doing so, you can ensure you’re at least considering time management within the process of collaboration. 

Take some time, as a group, to:

  1. Answer these questions together
  2. Create a document with your decisions
  3. Make sure that everyone is aware of and agrees on the expectations and guidelines for the work they will do
  4. Make sure that everyone is aware of what they are responsible for, the quality of work they are expected to produce, and the consequences of not meeting the expectations

1 Wolfe, Joanna (2010). Team writing: A guide to working in groups. Bedford/St. Martin’s. Boston, MA.