How to develop a PMO charter

Everyone involved in project management knows the importance of creating a solid project charter at the start of a project.  However, it is not so common to develop a PMO charter when setting up a central PMO.

What is a PMO charter?

Very simply, a PMO charter describes the background purpose, objectives, organisation and services provided by a PMO.

Why is this a good idea?

The main reason is to avoid confusion and make it very clear the scope of the PMO (what they are responsible for), the contact points and what they will (and won’t) do.  This is particularly important for a central PMO where each of the projects may also have their own PMO’s.

What to include in the PMO charter?

Background

Provide the context why the PMO has been formed.

Purpose

Explain the purpose, vision and design principles (see blog post PMO purpose, vision and design principles for more information)

Scope of PMO

This could be better termed “what we will do”.  Explain in bullet type statements what the PMO will do.  It is also a smart move to also detail what the PMO will not do so as to avoid any confusion.

PMO organisation structure

Include and organisation diagram of the PMO with the names and roles.  You can also add a separate table that details each PMO member, role and description of what they do.

PMO engagement model

It is sometimes useful to explain how the PMO will engage with the different projects and stakeholders.  This helps guide good lines of communication and helps avoid wasted time and effort with different chains of communications being set-up.

PMO services

Expand on the points raised under scope (“what we will do”), this will vary depending on what type of PMO is being set up.  The aim is to provide an understanding of each service being provided.  Where appropriate include details of the tools and processes you will be using.  If you don’t have a set of professional project templates take a look at my page that provides the advantages and benefits.

You may also wish to add additional points into the PMO charter that are appropriate to your own requirements.  Just add the additional headings.

Following the above will allow you to construct a good PMO charter.