What Is It?
The Project Charter is a is a key PM deliverable created in the beginning stages of a project. The goal is simple: get key stakeholders to agreement on important aspects of the project and buy into your idea.
The Charter also authorizes the existence of the project and bestows formal authority on the PM to manage it. In a more comprehensive format, the Charter defines all key aspects of the project at a high-level.
Create a Charter as early as possible and validate it with key stakeholders. A common cause of project problems/rework is discovering differing stakeholder expectations late in the project. Expect to go through multiple drafts as stakeholders come to a clearer understanding of the project in their own minds. Also, don't be surprised if there is conflict among stakeholders at this stage. Spend the time to lead the team to resolution. The effort that the PM expends at this early stage to get everyone on the same page, will pay off down the road many times over.
Follow this link for a free Project Charter PDF Download