Project Management Office Charters

There are many reasons for developing a Project Management Office Charter. A Charter, or similar project governance statement, is often seen as a useful way to outline the structures, principles, and project management processes to be followed within an organisation. However, effective project governance is often better executed with the aid of a well written charter.

Whatever its purpose, the Charter should be the organisational mandate for a PMO’s existence. It should define the PMO’s vision, role, purpose and key functions. It should articulate to its primary sponsors and stakeholders, the scope of services it provides, and the staffing and infrastructure required to deliver them. It will further help to accomplish project objectives by bringing an orderly and disciplined approach to project governance, risk management, and internal controls

The “three lines of defence” model is widely used to provide a cohesive and proactive approach to risk management and assurance. It is highly relevant for project management.
• The “first line of defence” often refers to Management, whom own and manage day-to-day risks and associated internal controls.
• The “second line of defence” refers to functions that oversee risk. These functions (such as risk management and project management office teams) typically support Management to discharge their responsibilities.
• Independent assurance service providers (such as Internal Audit) provide additional assurance as the “third line of defence”.

A good Project Management Office Charter will clearly articulate executive management’s intention to embed good project disciplines throughout the organisation. It should set out their vision, key objectives, reporting lines and just as importantly its mandate to enforce quality assurance and oversight. This will help avoid confusion about the PMO’s role and the scope of work it is authorised to undertake

The Charter should include specific reference to the PMO’s mandate and the reason it exists. It should set out its oversight and assurance role, how it will remain independent and objective, and how it will maintain quality and measure its success.

The Project Management Charter Charter should be approved by the Chief Executive Officer as a clear signal to others that the Project Management Office has his approval to achieve its goals. In doing so, Management should, as far as is practical, ensure that oversight responsibilities are clearly separated from management responsibilities.

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