Team Charter

Team Charters are

  • a genre of discourse in workplace contexts
  • a tool that teams use to provide greater clarity about the goals of their team and the responsibilities of team members. Team Charters help managers and team members coordinate the work product the team is responsible for producing
  • are a form of procedural rhetoric: they define the professional roles and responsibilities of a group of practitioners

When a group first forms there is minimal trust, no shared goals, no history of past performance, and roles are unclear. Despite this lack of clarity, members are usually eager to jump into the task at hand. Jumping in without a roadmap, however, is recipe for failure.

The single most critical success factor in high-performing teams is having a shared understanding of why a team exists and what it is trying to accomplish. Creating a team charter is the first step in developing a shared understanding and ensuring that everyone is on the same page from the start.

A Team Charter is used

  • to help coordinate collaboration among team members. Team Charters bring focus to the team’s charge or mission, roles and responsibilities, work plan and agreed-upon writing tools, and schedule. Team Charters clarify roles and rules and standards of interaction.

Groups vs. Teams

Effective teams, especially when they are first coalescing around ideas, benefit from ongoing reflection about (1) what the team needs to accomplish; (2) how the team will accomplish its goals, specifically what are the roles and responsibilities of team members.

Groups are random collections of people; teams are an interdependent group of individuals working toward a shared goal. The single most critical success factor in high-performing teams is having a shared understanding of why a team exists and what it is trying to accomplish.

When a group first comes together, there may be minimal trust, no shared goals, no history of past performance, and unclear roles and responsibilities. Despite this lack of clarity, members are usually eager to jump into the task at hand. Jumping in without a roadmap, however, is recipe for failure.

In the workplace, managers and team leaders use Team Charters to help develop consensus around shared tasks and goals. This sames time and money and unnecessary aggravations Without a focus, conversations and presentations can meander. People will get off topic.


  1. Name of Your Team, Startup, Committee
    1. Names of team members (first & last; emails; role (their title at your company)
  2. What is the Opportunity?
    1. What is the user’s need, desire?
    2. What is the market?
    3. What is your Mission—your raison d’être? In one sentence, summarize your purpose.
  3. Solution: What new value proposition(s) do you now have in mind?
  4. Research Protocol
    1. What informal, preliminary research will each person conduct?
  5. Team Workspace
    1. What tools will the team use to manage writing projects? gDocs? Notion? Slack? Microsoft Teams? Snapchat?
  6. What is your team’s operational procedures?
    1. When will you meet, where, how often?
    2. Team communication (best way, what happens if someone doesn’t respond quickly or at all?), conflict within your team, (not) meeting deadlines, etc.
    3. Ground Rules/Expectations of all team membersYou will be giving a team/peer grade to each member of your group for how well they worked as part of your team. Create the expectations now so no one is surprised at the end of this project.
  7. Team Organizational Structure & Roles :
    1. Identify the organizational structure and roles and responsibilities for each team member. Is your startup composed of equal cofounders, or founders and employees? Produce an original graphic illustrating these relationships.
  8. Team Equity:
    1. What are the equity distributions and salaries of all members. Place that information in a chart.

Team Roles

Team Roles

In small startups, people may play multiple roles in the company.

Business Strategist

The Business Strategist is chiefly responsible for product-market fit. He/she/they need to have textual research competencies to understand competitive products in the problem space and for directing or working with an analyst to conduct empirical investigations. This role requires openness, a growth mindset, and the ability to empathise with users and turn impressions into quantifiable datas.

  • Conduct and share research on the selected non-specialist user and “problem” that needs to be addressed
    • Why is it a problem?
    • How did it become a problem?
    • What is at stake if the problem isn’t addressed/fixed? Etc.)
  • Mentoring with the team regarding ways to structure hypothesis driven design.

The designer is responsible for the design of submitted texts, the company logo, the template for company documents. The designer should not be the only person who creates visualizations but is the last word about which visualizations are incorporated into company documents.

Product Manager (PM)

The product manager is chiefly responsible for the MVP/Prototype. Coordinate information, maintain records (including meeting notes), identify deadlines, and keep on top of other team members’ work to ensure deadlines are being met and completed.

  • Create meeting agendas and records meeting minutes during team meetings
  • Record workflow and process of team assignment completion in necessary program/format
Technical Founder

If you’re building an application, you need someone who has the technical skills necessary to build the MVP/prototype. Unless you’re building a service-type MVP/prototype, your team must have a Technical Founder to be viable.

Technical Writer

Final gatekeeper of information before submitted. Attention to detail required to ensure all needs and expectations of your reader are met and no simple mistakes (formatting, spelling, etc.) occur. Submit all documents on time.

Streamline all deliverables to ensure consistency in branding and formatting.

Every startup needs a writer, someone who can make the complex simple, the value proposition lucid and embedded in customer discovery interviews rather than pipedreams. Now everyone in the class engages in writing, but each startup will hopefully attract one really strong writer so the team’s ethos warrants

  • Understand what is required for each assignment.
  • Ensure each component is being addressed by someone within the team. Provide support and expert knowledge for all team members as manual components are written to ensure reader-centric writing is occurring and needs of the non-specialist reader are being met
  • Oversee team communications, meetings (agendas and notes) and deadlines.

Communicate and collaborate effectively with team members Ensure needs of non-specialist readers are being met through layout and design to ensure ease of locating and understanding information presented is concise and effective.


  • Organize team’s documentation/ deliverables in the team’s agreed upon workspace
  • Create a technical template and format all team documentation accordingly
  • Compile and prepare all team documentation (deliverables created and written by all members of team) into a well-organized, easy-to-navigate final manual. Responsible for adherence to business writing style.
  • Submit final deliverables of ALL positions to instructor in proper format and by stated deadlines through Canvas.
  • Proofread and review all documents

Student Learning Outcomes

  • help students develop the interpersonal competencies prized by employers
  • help team members define the roles and responsibilities necessary to successfully complete the Consultancy Simulation
  • help students develop project-management competencies, particularly the ability to structure productive teamwork by defining roles and responsibilities
  • provide students with some declarative knowledge about collaboration
  • prepare students to have a vocabulary and a sense of the scholarly conversation around the topic of collaboration


The following readings will help you navigate writing the Team Charter.

Conflict Resolution
Peer Review
Tools for Project Management