The project sponsor (and/or steering committee) is the internal recipient of project results. He will have the final say in decisions which affect cost, schedule and performance constraints. A good project sponsor increases the level of confidence felt by the project manager. The project sponsor helps the project manager stay positive and solve problems with the project team. During the course of the project, the sponsor communicates to senior management and to other stakeholders.
From PMI’s Pulse of the Profession (2013): … the Pulse shows that organizations with active project sponsors are more likely to have better project outcomes. More than three quarters of projects at high-performing organizations enjoy active project sponsors, compared to less than half at low-performing organizations…
From an organizational project management view the sponsor plays a key role in achieving project success. Cadence effectively supports sponsors by Executive Briefings, Workshops in Project Sponsorship or Portfolio Management training courses, coaching and consulting.
Internal Customer – The sponsor is the internal recipient of project results. The sponsor(s) also fund(s) the project.
Authority Figure – The sponsor will have the final say in decisions which affect cost, schedule and performance constraints.
Seller – The project sponsor is able to sell the project to project stakeholders. The sponsor believes in the project, speaks positively about it, and can passionately sell the benefits.
Coach and Mentor – A good project sponsor increases the level of confidence felt by the project manager. The project sponsor promotes knowledge creation and reuse of intellectual capital. Typically higher-level people, sponsors or steering committee members can provide political advice or assistance to the project manager.
Filter – The project sponsor stimulates project leaders by allowing them to focus on the work at hand. To be objective in assessing project relevance is an obligation for the sponsor.
Business Judge – The project sponsor uses sound business judgment to coach the project manager when making decisions.
Motivator – The project sponsor helps the project manager stay positive and solve problems with the project team. The sponsor constantly reminds the project leader about the importance of the project mission.
Negotiator – The project sponsor is swift and decisive in resolving conflicts.
Protector – The project sponsor works proactively with the project manager to manage risk. The sponsor demonstrates, through personal involvement with the team, that the agreed-on activities are important.
Upper Management Link – The project sponsor actively develops and manages relationships with peers in client organizations and rapidly builds trust with project managers and clients. During the course of the project, the sponsor communicates to senior management and to other stakeholders.
- Provide or secure funding for the project
- Sign contracts.
- Define or approve project scope.
- Approve changes to the project objective as a result of scope changes.
- Make phase end decisions, i.e. project authorization, approval, acceptance.
- Interpret or formulate existing or new policy as requested.
- Receive status monthly from the project manager.
- Promote the project and its linkage to company goals and directions.
- Passionately sell the benefits of the project.
- Be a focal point for decisions beyond the project manager’s scope of authority.
- Helps overcome obstacles that are not within the project manager’s control.
- The project sponsor asks management for help and support when needed.