A Project Sponsor, what is that? Who is that? Why do we need one? Will it cost me more money? These are some typical questions I often hear when I, as a Project Manager, ask the question, “Who is the Project Sponsor”. Every project has a sponsor whether they know it or not.
The one person that champions the idea of the project, takes a “need” that exists within your organization, and ultimately takes the idea to fruition by converting it to a project is identified as your Project Sponsor. He/she is the person that has to elicit the buy-in from the C-Level executives of the organization and convince them that the “need” in question is on the strategic growth path of the company. Therefore, a very important qualification of the sponsor must be that he/she holds a higher position on the corporate ladder. This is to ensure that if key decisions needed convincing, they would have easier access to them.
The core of the Project Sponsor’s role is to ensure that the project stays alive, it is accepted, it is funded, it is adopted and finally, it is successful. Therefore, if the sponsor is not willing to carry on this role than the Project Manager must speak up because this is a major risk to the overall success of the project. Remember – if the project fails the Project Manager is held responsible.
If you have a qualified sponsor, you as the Project Manager must look after him. A good sponsor will ensure the project is appropriately funded, will serve as an escalation path for issues beyond your control, and most importantly will influence others to benefit your project.
The sponsor must keep at the forefront the strategic importance of the project to his organization and not burden himself with the day-to-day operations that need to take place to progress the project forward. This is the sole responsibility of the Project Manager.
There needs to be a strong bidirectional commitment between the Project Sponsor and the Project Manager whereby the sponsor must offer mentoring, coaching and leadership to the Project Manager in dealing with business and operational matters.
The sponsor will play a key role in the change management aspect of your project. We know that every project comes with its own share of scope creep. Scope creep is not always bad for the project as long as it is always individually evaluated for its overall impact on the project. The sponsor plays a pivotal role in deciding when the scope is for the strategic good of the project and when they must reject the scope because it is not for the good of the project.
After completion and delivery of the project, its durability is extremely important. Which leads to another responsibility of the sponsor: to ensure that the organization has people and processes to maintain the project and it’s benefits after the project is handed off to the business.
In conclusion, without your Project Sponsor you have no project. Without the sustained support of the sponsor, your project will not see the light of day and will languish in an incomplete state.
To find out more about Project Sponsors or to ask any questions you may have, contact Amit at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-866-960-0001.
AMIT TRASI | Project Manager
Amit is responsible for institutionalizing project management governance at KTL to streamline ERP implementations. With over 15 years of technology experience as a software developer, project manager, and program manager, Amit has managed end-to-end ERP implementations with Dynamics NAV and GP as well as POS implementation with e-Commerce front end. He holds extensive experience deploying POS and ERP applications at non-profits, theme parks, and museums across the United States. Amit joined KTL in October of 2013 and holds an MBA in Information Systems as well as holding a Project Management Professional certificate.