Team Charter Template: Step-wise guide and template
What is a team charter template?
In the corporate world it’s impossible to avoid working in teams, so it makes sense to invest time and energy into building strong, highly functioning teams. To get buy-in from all associates, creating a team charter that defines the expectations, attributes and roles of team members is a vital first step. This is easier said than done. Most teams these days are cross-functional and there are multiple moving parts. This is where the team charter template comes in.
There are hundreds of variations of team charter templates, ranging from highly complex to overly simplified, text heavy to cleverly illustrated. We’ve created a simple, easy to use template that explores the five key areas that we believe you need to create a team charter that is practical, actionable and manageable. The two-step process begins with a brainstorming session before consolidating all thoughts into the few that the team agrees on.
The four key benefits of a template for a team charter are:
- Creating a clear, shared vision
- Developing clear roles and responsibilities
- Improving communications
- Clearly defining milestones and goals
Step-by-step guide to using a team charter template
The template for a team charter should ideally be filled in collaboratively. The first step in this direction is to conduct a brainstorming session. With more and more teams becoming distributed across geographies and timezones, it might be hard to get everyone in the same room at the same time. A collaborative whiteboard like Conceptboard is an easy way to get all your stakeholders on the same page, literally. The following are the different sections of a template for team charter. Once complete, it can easily be shared across teams or imported as a PDF.
The most important step is to gather all team members. Regardless of location, by using an online collaborative space such as Conceptboard, all team members can be made to feel equal and valued, which is vitally important in this first team building step. In the first column, team members use sticky notes to write their name, and then list one strength and one weakness each to help better understand each other.
The second column is for Core Values. Team members share the individual things they care about in the work environment. Then collectively, teams need to agree on four or five top values- these are the things that will help guide teamwork- and move them to the Consolidate section at the bottom. Core values might be honesty, open lines of communication, freedom of expression or independent thinking.
These are the practical ways the team will work together. While some team members may appreciate daily standups, regular phone calls and texts, others may enjoy working quietly from home. So to ensure communication runs smoothly, it’s important to agree upon the group norms so there is no miscommunication down the track.
Metrics of success
What does success look like to your team? In this section, it’s important to look at the different markers of success, apart from just the bottom line. This might be time, quality, growth or team work related, just to name a few. OKRs or Objectives and key results is a goal management framework made famous by Google. It focuses on driving team alignment and focusing on tangible metrics and associated results.
What roles are necessary in the team, and who will play them? These might include less obvious roles such as mediator, treasurer and social organiser, as well as clearly defining the major roles directly related to the project. Importantly- elect someone to be the enforcer of the Team Charter to ensure the expectations are abided by.
Standards of quality
What is the standard of work that your team will consider acceptable? This is important to define early on, and it will help you maintain high standards. Features such as timeliness, originality, well researched, digitally advanced and neat might be some of the key criteria your team will strive for.
Discover visual collaboration
Once you have at least four agreed-upon ideas in each of the Consolidate sections, the hard work is done! The final step is to take those ideas and turn them into complete sentences in one comprehensive document. This can then be exported and shared with the team so that it’s always visible as a reference point in case of disputes or conflict. If you want to take it one step further, ask all team members to sign the charter (digitally or physically) for an extra level of agreement. It’s a good idea to return to this team charter yearly to update it as the team grows and evolves.
Well done! By defining team expectations, you’ve taken the first step to creating a strong team.
Example of a team charter template for leadership
Let’s take the example of a new international product team that has been set up with a multinational to help improve cooperation and cohesion for the development of new products.
If you would like to continue exploring how you can create close-knit teams, especially in remote or distributed settings, take a look at our other articles on effective team work with the Team Canvas, Better Communication within Remote Teams.