In 2005, my colleague and I began iteratively designing a research project charter that spells out the principles under which we operate, as well as the specific policies that are related to each principle. We typically introduce the charter individually to new team members as they are recruited, or else within the first meeting or two of the entire team, then refer to it subsequently as team issues come to light.
The current form of the project charter contains 7 major sections, which correspond to the principles under which we carry out our projects. For each principle, there are a number of policies that address specific questions of interpretation. The 7 principles deal respectively with dissemination, deadlines, funding, future phases, professional dignity, goodwill, and risk and harm. We do not consider this to be an exhaustive list of principles—it is simply the list we have iteratively developed so far, based on our experiments in project management. This charter is currently on its 14th iteration.