What is a Charter?

I have never heard this before. Is this something from Europe? I am from the US.


At my company, we use them to lay out a project. The what, why, and how (without specific technical details). This makes acceptance criteria, and perhaps more importantly what is not in scope very clear.

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So the answer to this depends on whether you mean:

  • a Test Charter (which is a means of focusing and structuring your exploratory testing on investigating a specific target area to uncover information about specific risks).
  • a Project Charter (which sets the scope and objectives at a holistic scale for a project).

IMHO, in the context of test charters, they are essential. Without them your exploratory testing will be ad-hoc and unstructured, and it’d be really hard to show your exploratory testing too.


Check out this 99 second video that explains what Test Charters are, some examples, the value of using charters and some pitfalls to watch out for too. :slightly_smiling_face:


Hi there,

I am now just referring to the Test Charter, since this is the only way I used it so far.

I am using it for exploratory testing. So far tried different designs, styles, approaches. Basically I apply it when I want to note something down prior and/or during the test session to ensure myself I cover the areas I want to go through. But I also use it as kind of documentation in case someone of my team gets curious and wants to know what I tested and what not.
So the ways I used it

  • Paper and pen, great for quick scribbles and doodle-lovers like me. But not so good for paperless documentation, easy searching and sharing with others if working remotely (Covid19 made this pretty clear to me)
  • Test Charter form, used something I found and adapted it to our internal needs. Looks professional but was not really used neither by me nor by the team. I can’t put my finger on, it just seems not to fit properly.
  • Test Cases in our system, noting down some keywords rather than too much details. Part of the test case pool, nice if it could/should/must be used for regression testing
  • Mindmaps, atm my favorite. I am able to quickly note done things, they structure kind of by themself. I edit them during testing, using little emojis for test result tracking. It is easy accessible, can be shared with others, and is a documentation which needs no extra typing. I include it also in (remote) pair testing.
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According to my understanding Charter is a kind of tool that is used for exploratory testing and using this tool stakeholders define the scope of a project. I think it has some particular template also to develop a charter like we do in project management too.


A statement of test objectives,and possibly test ideas about how to test.Test charters are used in exploratory testing .