Virtual Team Charter Guidelines

This job aid provides best practices and tips on how to create an effective team charter for your virtual team.

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A team charter is a "roadmap to success" that team members create together. It's where they set down their shared understanding of how the team can work most effectively together, and bring clarity to team direction, roles and responsibilities. The charter is valuable at the beginning of a team's journey and at any time a guidepost is needed in the face of challenges.

Mission and vision
Clearly outline the team's objectives and purpose. Begin with a statement in one or two sentences about what the team is expected to do.

Roles and responsibilities
Establish roles and responsibilities among team members. What are the various roles that team members will take on to support team success?

Team values
Choose values that support the purpose of your team, not just values that reflect individual team members' personal preferences. That said, team values shouldn't be in direct conflict with your personal values.

Skills and knowledge inventory
Identify the skills and knowledge areas that members bring to the team. Team members can also identify any skills or knowledge areas they would like to develop.

Operations
Outline the basic operating principles and procedures that govern your team, including:

  • communication protocols (video-conferencing, meetings, emails, instant messaging, etc.)
  • standard operating procedures and file management
  • mechanisms for decision making

Conflict resolution mechanisms
Discuss and agree beforehand on how to deal constructively with conflicts. This will help ensure an optimal functioning team during challenging times.

Tips for success

  • Build your charter early on when your new team is forming
  • Explain why the charter is important, to obtain everyone's buy-in
  • Build the team charter together
  • Ensure your charter is accessible to everyone on the team
  • Consider the charter as evolving; review quarterly or as needed
  • Use the charter for accountability and direction—never for policing

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