The average run length (ARL) of conventional control charts is typically computed assuming temporal independence. However, this assumption is frequently violated in practical applications. Alternative ARL computations have often been conducted via time consuming and yet not necessarily very accurate simulations. In this article, we develop a class of Markov chain models for evaluating the run length performance of traditional control charts for autocorrelated processes. We show extensions from the univariate AR(1) model to the general multivariate VARMA(p, q) time series. The results of the proposed method are highly comparable to those of simulations and with significantly less computational overhead. © 2013 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.