What are the key components of a PMO Charter? With Template!

Hi there, one question I get asked the most about in my Project Management Office is my charter. What is our PMO charter? Where can I find it? How often do we look at it and, most importantly, what is in it? Over the last 30 years in the Project Management industry, and 20+ running PMOs, I have always had a PMO charter; it has been the tool that has level set and gave me the foundation of my PMO office.

PMO Charter

I actually have a copy of this PMO charter template for you in a link below that you can go grab yourself a copy today. But, let’s continue with this critical topic.

As you know, a project management office (PMO) is a centralized organizational unit that provides project management services to the rest of the organization. Well, that is the most simplistic definition, but let’s keep it simple for today. There are several types of PMOs and they all don’t carry that same definition.

What is a PMO Charter?

A project management office (PMO) charter is a formal document that defines the purpose, scope, and authority of a project management office (PMO). The PMO charter also emphasizes the significance of documenting and aligning people with the PMO objectives. The charter also establishes the PMO’s relationship with other project stakeholders, such as the project sponsor, project manager, and project team members.

Who develops a PMO Charter?

Ultimately, the PMO Leader develops a project charter but will not do that alone. PMO Charters are best developed in collaboration with key PMO stakeholders, including the project managers, key executives, and your PMO customers.

It is necessary to update the charter yearly. So not too often that you are randomly changing directions of the PMO, but often enough that you can allow for changes in the industry and be flexible to adjust to those items. An example is AI in the PMO. What are you going to do about that?

What is the Purpose of a PMO Charter?

The purpose of a Project Management Office Charter is to define the PMO’s role, responsibilities, and authority. It also establishes the PMO’s relationship with other key stakeholders, such as the project management team, the business units, and the executive team. The long-term success of the PMO depends on having a solid charter in place and signed-off by the key stakeholders.

A well-written PMO charter describes:

  • Align the PMO with the organization’s overall goals and objectives
  • Define the PMO’s role and responsibilities
  • Establish a framework for project management within the organization
  • Provide guidance and support to project managers
  • Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of project management

The PMO charter is a critical document for any organization that wants to improve its project management office practices. By taking the time to develop a well-written PMO charter, organizations can lay the foundation for a successful PMO that can help them achieve their strategic and business goals.

What are the key elements in a PMO Charter Template?

There are many thoughts and opinions of what goes in and out of a PMO charter and I can tell you from what I have used in my past PMOs. I have been successful with these components:

  • Document Purpose – What is the purpose of the PMO charter document.
  • PMO Vision Statement – What is the vision of the PMO?
  • PMO Mission Statement – What is the mission of the PMO?
  • PMO Strategic Alignment Mapping – How does the PMO align to the strategic direction of the company?
  • PMO Organizational Structure – What does a proposed PMO Org chart look like? How many employees, how many vendors?
  • PMO Business Challenges – What are the top PMO Business Challenges we are experiencing with project execution?
  • PMO Value KPI’s/Metrics – What are the key KPI’s and Metrics that need to be created in the PMO?
  • PMO Budget– What is the PMO Budget and what does it cover?
  • PMO Service Offerings – What are the proposed PMO Service Offerings?
  • PMO Customers and Stakeholders – Who are the key Customers and Stakeholder Groups for the PMO?

Please note that this is just a PMO Charter Template and you can change and update it based on your company’s requirements. I would use this as a starting point only and tweak for your company’s needs.

Of course, there are several templates available for creating a PMO charter. Some of the most popular templates include:

  • The Project Management Institute (PMI) PMO Charter Template
  • The Gartner PMO Charter Template
  • The APM PMO Charter Template
  • The IPMA PMO Charter Template

Note: These charter templates can be quite complex and maybe overkill for what you need initially in your PMO. If you start with the template I have provided, you can grow into a more mature template as your PMO matures.

When choosing a template, it is important to select one that is appropriate for your organization’s specific needs and requirements. Some factors to be considered include:

  • Your PMO executives specific requirements.
  • The size and complexity of your PMO.
  • The scope of the PMO.
  • The PMO’s responsibilities .
  • The level of maturity of your PMO.
  • The Type of PMO you are running.
  • The PMO success factors.

How are the main customers for the PMO Charter?

It is important to understand who will read and review the PMO Charter and who should be involved in the document’s approval. Here are the key individuals that should be involved in this process:

  • Company Executives
  • PMO Leadership
  • PMO Team
  • PMO Stakeholders and Customers

Note: Please start slowly with the list of individuals you will sign-up to approve your PMO charter. The list should be the key decision makers for the PMO, but not so broad that you need everyone’s approvals.

If you are looking for the PMO Charter Template, mentioned in this Article, here is the link for you. PMO Charter Template

What do you think?

If you like this article, you will love this one: How do PMO Leaders stay on top of their data?

Or you might like this one, How to Build a PMO, that one is the most popular article on my site.

Bill Dow, PMP

Frequently asked Questions

Question 1: What is the purpose of a PMO charter?

Answer: A PMO charter is a document that defines the purpose, scope, and authority of a PMO. It also outlines the PMO’s relationship with other stakeholders in the organization.

Question 2: Who should create a PMO charter?

Answer: The PMO manager creates the PMO charter. However, senior management should review and approve the charter.

Question 3: What are the key elements of a PMO charter?

Answer: The key elements of a PMO charter include:

  • Document Purpose
  • PMO Vision Statement
  • PMO Mission Statement
  • PMO Strategic Alignment Mapping
  • PMO Organization Chart
  • PMO Business Challenges
  • PMO Value KPI’s/Metrics
  • PMO Budget
  • PMO Service Offerings
  • PMO Customers and Stakeholders

Question 4: How often should a PMO charter be reviewed?

Answer: The PMO charter should be reviewed at least annually to ensure that it is still relevant and effective.

Question 5: What are the benefits of having a PMO charter?

Answer: A PMO charter provides several benefits, including:

  • Clarity of purpose: The PMO charter defines the PMO’s purpose, which helps to ensure that the PMO is aligned with the organization’s overall goals.
  • Scope of work: The PMO charter outlines the PMO’s scope of work, which helps to prevent the PMO from taking on too much work or work that is outside of its scope.
  • Authority: The PMO charter defines the PMO’s authority, which helps to ensure that the PMO has the resources and support it needs to be successful.
  • Relationship with stakeholders: The PMO charter outlines the PMO’s relationship with other stakeholders in the organization, which helps to prevent conflict and misunderstandings.
  • Reporting structure: The PMO charter defines the PMO’s reporting structure, which helps to ensure that the PMO is accountable for its work.
  • Budget: The PMO charter defines the PMO’s budget, which helps to ensure that the PMO has the resources it needs to be successful.

Question 6: What are the challenges of creating a PMO charter?

Answer: There are a number of challenges that can be associated with creating a PMO charter, including:

  • Getting buy-in from senior management: The PMO charter must be approved by senior management, which can be a challenge if senior management does not understand or support the PMO’s role.
  • Defining the PMO’s scope of work: The PMO’s scope of work must be clearly defined, but it can be difficult to define a scope that is both broad enough to be effective and narrow enough to be manageable.
  • Defining the PMO’s authority: The PMO’s authority must be clearly defined, but it can be difficult to strike a balance between giving the PMO enough authority to be effective and not giving the PMO too much authority that it becomes a bottleneck.
  • Defining the PMO’s relationship with other stakeholders: The PMO’s relationship with other stakeholders in the organization must be clearly defined, but it can be difficult to define a relationship that is both collaborative and respectful.
  • Defining the PMO’s reporting structure: The PMO’s reporting structure must be clearly defined, but it can be difficult to define a reporting structure that is both efficient and effective.
  • Defining the PMO’s budget: The PMO’s budget must be clearly defined, but it can be difficult to define a budget that is both realistic and sufficient.

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