I’ve trained quite a few project managers over the years, but not many project sponsors. That’s a problem. Too many organizations ensure they have processes in place and trained project managers to use them, but ignore the project sponsor. While you may be tempted to think project sponsors don’t need training, informal polls among my students indicate that sponsors rarely understand their role, resulting in dysfunction. I continually emphasize that even the best project managers cannot succeed if the project environment is dysfunctional.
The project sponsor is even more important to a project’s success than the project manager. It is the project sponsor who should be ensuring the following:
- The project is correct for the organization
- It is the right time for the project to be undertaken
- The organization is fully behind the project
- The project is fully funded
- Adequate resources are available to complete the project on time
- Initial time lines are reasonable
- A charter is written
- The project manager is right for the project
- Establishes clear vision and strategic alignment
- Sets clear roles and responsibilities
- Is available to answer questions
- Asks insightful questions
- Navigates the political landscape
- Coaches the project manager
- Assists in Team development
- Is the project cheerleader
Is your sponsor doing these things? If not, don’t be upset with the project manager when the project runs into trouble.
All the best!
All the time!
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