When you look at what is needed in order to have a successful project, focus tends to fall on the Project Managers. The Project Managers is one of the most important assets to a project; however we should highlight the position of the Project Sponsor in terms of successful project management.
The Sponsor is said to hold one of the most important roles in terms of project success or failure. An effective Sponsor should be responsible for the following:
1. Goals: The Sponsor should ensure that the business need is valid and correctly prioritised within the project.
2. Communication: Clearly communicate on aspects of the project with stakeholder groups and senior management.
3. Keeping to Schedule: The Sponsor is heavily involved in ensuring that the project is kept to the original schedule along with the Project Manager. In order to manage the schedule the Sponsor and Project Manager should meet frequently and review the timeline.
4. Changes: A project can experience changes at any time. The Sponsor needs to ensure that these changes are properly managed to ensure that they don’t have any negative impact on the project.
5. Resolve Issues: Some issues are out of the reach of the Project Manager such as decisions on changes and conflicting objectives. The Sponsor takes control of these issues and ensures that they are solved efficiently and effectively.
6. Support: The Project Manager needs consistent support during a project. The Sponsor is on hand to provide this support in the form of mentoring, coaching and leadership. The Sponsor also supports the Project Team especially in terms of scope clarification, progress management and guidance.
The Sponsor ultimately holds many responsibilities as part of their role. In the Project Management world some people may believe that the Sponsor is there to just report the Project Manager’s updates to the rest of the organisation. However in reality the Sponsor holds a much more active role in the life cycle of a project and is the owner of the final product.
Having someone that can reach all of these responsibilities is worth holding onto. Carrying out a project without an effective Sponsor increases the risk of the project failing, unfortunately the Project Manager will be answerable to a project failing.