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Monday, April 02, 2012

The Project Sponsor

A project sponsor's role is to help make project decisions (formal authority), and additionally, he or she is ultimately responsible for the project's success. The sponsor comes from the executive or senior management ranks (depending on the size of the project) and should be influential, a respected politician, and have a track record for getting things done.

The sponsors authority and stature should be such that they are independent as much as possible of the project's goals and objectives so they can cut through the political landscape to get critical project decisions made.

Sponsors don't just support projects; they support the project manager and project team. They are the project champion and won't allow others to sabotage the project manager, the project team, or the project's goals. They have authority that comes from their title and position within the organization. In order for sponsors to be effective they must have organizational respect, proven leadership qualities, and be honest in their dealings.  They aren't political sharks and they are adept at rallying the troops (project team and stakeholders), presenting a clear message, and are supportive of the project manager.

Ideal Sponsor Responsibilities

Writes the Project Charter

Help to define project team roles and responsibilities

Acts as an advisor to the project manager

Removes obstacles

Has control of project funding

Reviews and Approves any Statements of Work/Contracts and Planning Documents

Bad Sponsor Characteristics

Always too busy to meet with the project manager and project team

Doesn't have time to write a project charter

Won't get involved in assigning project roles and responsibilities

Doesn't have time to approve documents, or delegates all sponsor responsibility to others.

Blames others when things go wrong, and/or won't work to resolve project issues

Always takes credit for any project success

Is surprised when the project's deliverables aren't what they expected

A bad sponsor is a project manager's worst nightmare. Avoid them at all costs if possible.

1 comment:

Project Charter said...

This is so true. Having the right project manager can literally make or break the whole project.