Agile Chartering

When a team decides to adopt agile best practices, more than implementing the agile ceremonies like sprint planning, daily team meetings, sprint reviews and sprint retrospectives, it is important to have the agile mindset percolated down to every team member and every associated stakeholder. This agile mindset has to be based on the agile manifesto and the 12 agile principles. The working environment and the ground rules must align with the values imbibed in the Agile manifesto and the 12 agile principles. 

Agile Manifesto

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working product over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a pan

12 Agile principles

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working product frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. Working product is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of unwanted work not done–is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

How do we do that?. That is the million dollar question.

The best way to create an agile mindset within the project team is to create a project charter and a team charter which captures the essence of the agile manifesto and the agile principles. And the project charter and the team charter of the project must act as the ground rules for project execution.

Contents of project charter

  • Purpose
  • High level description of the scope
  • Major milestones and dates
  • Assumptions and constraints
  • High level risks
  • Key stakeholders
    • Roles
    • Responsibilities
  • Project manager’s name
  • Project manager’s roles and responsibilities

A well drafted project charter will help the team including the extended team of stakeholders to form, storm, norm and perform as a team quickly.

Contents of the team charter

  • Definition of done (A common description of the processes involved before declaring a task as completed. A good definition of done must ensure that it is of shippable quality and nobody will work on it again.
  • Must highlight the timing and the negotiability of time and the participants required for;
    • Release planning meeting
    • Sprint (Iteration) planning meeting
    • Daily stand up meeting
    • Iteration review meeting
    • Retrospective meeting
  • Cultural aspects
    • Self organization
    • Collective responsibility
    • Work volunteering
    • Cross functional
    • Servant leadership

A well drafted project charter, and team charter created with the participation of the team members will help the project start off well, and there will be absolute clarity on the Dos and Donts which will help the team to embrace fearlessly the values of;

  • Openness
  • Trust
  • Transparency
  • Risk taking


Agile Manifesto

Agile Alliance

A project well begun is half done