Developing a Team Charter

Note that not all categories have to be used; the team should select the ones that are most relevant based on the team type and task.

  • target

    Mission statement

    • Team purpose (This is your mission statement)
      • Why do you exist as a team?
      • What is the problem being addressed?
      • What is a clear and concise statement of the ideal state your team desires to achieve?
      • What does team success look like?
    • Team goals (These are means to your mission)
      • What team goals do you need to accomplish to attain your mission?
    • Member goals (Helps to align individuals to the overall team goals)
      • What does each member expect to achieve by being a part of this team?
      • How will each member contribute to the team mission?

  • team-forming

    Team Identity

    • Develop a team roster that includes each team member’s name, phone number, email address and an assessment of their team strengths and improvement goals
    • Define and give roles to team members that make sense and are equitable

  • safety-cone


    • What policies, procedures and values do you subscribe to that cannot be violated?
    • What are the limitations on the teams’ performance (e.g., time and resources)?
    • What decisions can you make on our own versus needing permission from others?
    • Who are the stakeholders affected by your team’s activities?

  • group-decision

    Group Decision-making

    • How will you make decisions? The leader decides? Most vocal wins? Voting? Consensus (100% agree)?
    • In the event of a tie, how will tie-breakers be used?

  • clipboard

    Operating Guidelines: Team Structure and Processes

    • Who will lead? What is expected of your leader? Will you rotate leadership?
    • How will you perform the work that needs to be done on the various projects?
    • How will you communicate with each other?
    • How will you facilitate member growth and development?
    • How will you encourage positive/creative conflict and discourage dysfunctional conflict?
    • Will you acknowledge when there is disagreement and describe how it is affecting the team? Will each party be permitted to state his or her point of view?
    • How will you get commitment from members to resolve disagreements?

  • meeting

    Meeting Management

    • When will meetings take place and how long will they last?
    • Will an agenda be circulated beforehand?
    • What should you do if there is a time conflict and you are unable to attend?
    • Are you responsible to find out what happened if you miss a meeting?
    • Will meetings take place face-to-face vs. virtually?
    • What consequences for missing or being late to a meeting?
    • What are valid excuses for missing or being late to a meeting?

  • measurement

    Performance Norms and Consequences
    (Performance Agreement)

    What norms (behavioral rules) do you need to facilitate goal attainment and member satisfaction? What are your standards of performance?

    • How will you evaluate and reward overall team and member performance?
      • How will member contribution to the team process be evaluated?
      • How should feedback be given?
      • How will the team reward itself for a job well done?
      • How should poor performance be handled?
      • How will dysfunctional behaviors, e.g., dominating, withdrawing, wasting time, free riding, etc. be dealt with?
      • If resolution is not possible, who will be contacted to help arbitrate?
      • What is the due process for terminating a member from the team?
    • What expectations do you have for team project contributions?
      • What is expected for delivery and quality of assigned work?
      • What are your criteria for evaluating project contributions?
      • What are the consequences for work that is late or is of poor quality?
      • How will the team reward individual members for outstanding contributions?

Aaron, J.R., McDowell, W.C., and Herdman, A.O. (2014). The Effects of a Team Charter on Student Behaviors. Journal of Education for Business, 90-97.

Team charters: Getting your team off to a great start

Norton, William I, Jr., and Hale, Dena. (2012). Team Charters and Systematic Search: A Prescription for Corporate Entrepreneurship. Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship. 17(1), 19-36.

From the Penn State Team Science website: