A team charter is a document that is developed in a group setting that clarifies team direction while establishing boundaries. It is developed early during the forming of the team. The charter should be developed in a group session to encourage understanding and buy-in.
The team charter has a number of purposes.
A good team charter makes the team’s identity and its purpose transparent for everyone to see.
How do team members expect others to behave? How will team members keep each other to account for delivery? A good team charter details the rules by which its members will behave.
How does your team make decisions? Simple majority vote? Roman vote? What happens when a team member doesn’t like the decision? Write some examples in your team charter.
Remember, some rules and decisions are outside of the team’s control. The team can’t, for example, vote to stop doing Daily Scrum. If it’s not effective, work out as a team how to make it effective.
When the team delivers against a deadline how does it celebrate? What does the team do for birthdays, religious holidays, government holidays?
Investing the required time to develop a charter reduces confusion about the group’s objectives. The charter also provides the information needed to reduce the risk of rework, enabling the team to get it right the first time.
Download the Team Charter (PDF) template.
1. Sutherland, J. and Schwaber, K. (2020) The Scrum Guide. The Definitive Guide to Scrum: The Rules of the Game.