Program Management Office Charter


Format: Proposal / Report

This PMO charter template is perfect for a program-specific PMO. This PMO might be one among multiple PMOs in the organization, created to manage a single significant effort. This clean and straightforward six-page charter defines the role, purpose and functions of the PMO. It articulates who the PMO's sponsors and customers are, the services that it offers, and the staffing and support structures required to deliver those services. The charter is not the project plan for developing the PMO, but instead the statement of what the PMO will do once it is developed.

Table of Contents

1 PMO Statement Of Purpose
1.1 Mandate
1.2 Background
1.3 Organizational Context
2 Customers & Stakeholders
2.1 Customers
2.1 Stakeholders
3 Services Offerings
3.1 Overview
3.2 For Each Service
4 PMO Structure
4.1 PMO Structure Chart
4.2 Roles, Responsibilities, Accountabilities and Authorities
5 PMO Success Profile
5.1 Critical Success Factors
5.2 Measures Of Success

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Comments (5)

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Great comments, and I agree with Harlan in terms of what the content of an effective business plan should contain; most of it, in fact, is what is outlined in the deliverable. The rest is a semantic debate on whether something is a 'PMO Charter' or 'PMO business plan'; I, for one, have never been particularly bothered by labels or titles, and think you need to call it what is relevant in your organization. Writing for project managers, there is a common acceptance that 'charters start things', and that is why the term was used here. 'Business plan' is equally relevant. It's not the title at the top of the document that matters, it is the content -- and more importantly, the thinking process that leads to the content -- that is critical.

As for the rest, there are implicit assumptions being read into terms that 'charters are static' and 'business plans are dynamic', and that the use of the word 'charter' implies that something is a project. Both are that: assumptions. Actual practice is what defines how something is used.

So do, take the advice that has been here from the start: Be clear about why you are setting up a PMO. Know who the PMO exists to serve as a customer. Be VERY clear about what success looks like, how it will be measured, and by who. And be responsive enough to recognize that when the world changes, you probably need to be changing with it.



I am in agreement with Mark on this. I always advise anyone setting up a PMO to use a strategic plan, not a PMO charter. For all the reasons Mark has listed above, a PMO strategic plan or business plan is the proper way to manage your PMO. PMO Charters are static documents that are obsolete almost immediately. In practice, they are created, put in a binder and rarely visited again. In contrast, a strategic plan is constantly being reviewed and updated to ensure that it stays relevant and addresses new goals and objectives. Leading a PMO is just like leading any other business department. As Mark has stated in his comment, the PMO is a business department (not a project), not unlike Sales, Marketing, or IT. It must be managed in the same manner as these departments. At all times, it must be aligned with the strategy of the business. As the strategy of the business changes, the PMO strategy must be reviewed and if necessary changed to ensure alignment.

A well written strategic plan (or business plan) will, at a minimum:

1. Have the vision and mission statements
2. List each of the goals to be achieved by the PMO (limit to 3)
3. Identify 2 or 3 objectives for each goal (used to measure the success of the PMO)
4. Identify the success measures
5. Include the strategy for achieving success

Additional things to include could be:
- Statement of Business Need: What vital need are you responding to?
- Budget
- Organization structure
- Measurement Tools: What tools or instruments will you use to measure success? What data based decision making plan do you have?
- What is needed to Succeed or Critical Success Factors

Look at any strategic plan used by any business department. You will find a good starting point for a PMO Strategic Plan. And remember the strategic plan is updated periodically, just as the business updates its strategic plan.


Couldn't agree more. Do you, by chance, have examples of well-written PMO Business Plans? And I get that each organization is different. I'm simply trying to leverage things that may be out there that I can refine.


I have long advocated that there is no such thing as a PMO charter and that we ( the PM community) should stop using this term. The very idea of a PMO charter and actions to put one in place results in an organization that is not managed by a guiding business plan like other departments in the company or organization. Does the sales management organization have a "Sales Management Organization" charter? Of course not. Does marketing, finance, manufacturing, human resources, etc, have charters? Of course not. This PMO Charter example, though not altogether terrible, makes the same fundamental mistakes that most all PMO Charters do. There are either no PMO goals and measurable objectives that serve as fulfillment of the PMO mandate from which the PMO will be held to account, or the objectives are viewed and positioned as a Profile of PMO Success and usually at the end of the document - like this PMO Charter document does. Also, the approach to PMO goals/objectives that most charters take (again missing or incorrectly done) like this PMO Charter provides is backwards. For one, PMO success measures shoujld be quantitative and measurable. For another, as the PMO charter states in section 5.2 "These (success measures) should be aligned with the overall mandate and service offerings of the PMO." This is not right. You do not align objectives to your intended services. You align (develop, plan, and execute) your services to achieve the mandate and measurable goals and objectives of your PMO. This PMO Charter document, as an example, and the thought that goes behind it is one of the main reasons, that PMOs are initially set up incorrectly and fail so often. PMO Charter? No such thing. Set up and run your PMO like other business units do. Now, for a new PMO and contained within the PMO business plan for a new PMO, I could be willing to agree to the premise that you could have a PMO Setup Charter that describes the project effort to set up a new PMO. But the PMO is not a project, it is a business unit. So throw away the PMO Charter and use instead a PMO business plan. One could argue that a good PMO Charter is equivalent to a PMO business plan. And when in the hands of PMO experts that have done this quite a bit, the PMO Charter document (good or bad) won't keep these folks from having a successful PMO. But what about all of the folks the are not experts in the PMO? The process that these people go through when they develop their PMO charters is not even close to what today's leadership teams expect and need by way of a business plan for a business unit, department, or office of some kind. PMOs need to exhibit steller business acumen, leadership, and speak in the language of business - not PM mumo-jumbo. A very good first step, especially for permanent PMOs as opposed to temporary program offices, would be to remove from the PM community vernacular the misguided term "PMO Charter". As always, IMHO, and I hope we hear and learn from others.




"It isn't necessary to be rich and famous to be happy. It's only necessary to be rich."

- Alan Alda