What is the Role of a Project Sponsor?

The efficiency of the project sponsor is fundamental to the achievement of the project's goals. In this piece, we'll examine the role of a project sponsor, how they're distinct from a project manager, and why they're crucial to the project's success. We'll also examine some real-world examples of effective project sponsorship and talk about what to look for in a project sponsor and how to collaborate with them. Finally, we'll look into how the involvement of project sponsors affects governance and ultimately, the outcomes of projects.

Key Responsibilities of a Project Sponsor

A project sponsor's primary responsibilities include providing project support and resources, establishing the project's overall goals and objectives, and ensuring that the project is completed on time and within budget.

According to a Project Management Institute study, having a project sponsor who is actively engaged increases the likelihood of project success by 43%. This means that the project sponsor is critical to the project's success.

A project sponsor's other responsibilities may include communicating with stakeholders, identifying and managing risks, and resolving any issues that arise during the project. Overall, the project sponsor is accountable for ensuring that the project is aligned with the organization's strategic objectives and that the expected benefits are realized.

How a Project Sponsor Differs From a Project Manager?

The project sponsor is the person who initiates the project and provides the resources and funding to see it through to completion. They are in charge of establishing the project's overall goals and objectives, as well as ensuring that they are consistent with the organization's strategy and vision.

They are responsible for completing tasks on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards. They collaborate closely with the project sponsor and provide regular progress updates.

According to a PMI survey, the most important driver of project success is having an actively engaged project sponsor. Sponsored projects are 57% more likely to succeed than unsponsored projects. This highlights the significance of having a project sponsor who is actively involved in and committed to the project's success.

Importance of a Project Sponsor in Project Success

A project sponsor is essential to the success of any project. They are accountable for the project's outcomes and are responsible for providing guidance and support throughout the project's lifecycle.

According to a Project Management Institute study, having an actively engaged executive sponsor is the most important driver of project success. According to the study, projects with engaged sponsors are more likely to meet their objectives, stay within budget, and finish on time.

The project sponsor is in charge of providing the project team with the necessary resources and removing any impediments to progress. They also act as a liaison between the project team and senior management, ensuring that the project is in line with the overall strategy and goals of the organization.

Qualities to Look for in a Project Sponsor

A project's sponsor must first and foremost have a well-defined objective for the undertaking. They need to be able to convey these goals clearly and make sure that everyone on the team understands them.

A project sponsor's leadership skills are another crucial quality to look for. A good sponsor can lead by example and keep the team focused on the project's objectives while also making tough calls when necessary.

A project sponsor's communication skills are crucial. They need to be receptive to input from team members and other interested parties, and they must be able to effectively communicate with everyone involved in the project.

A strong sense of accountability, the ability to maintain order and efficiently manage resources, and a willingness to take personal responsibility for the project's outcome are also desirable traits in a project sponsor. A good project sponsor will also have extensive knowledge of the field and the needs of the project itself.

How to Effectively work with a Project Sponsor

Working effectively with a project sponsor is critical to completing a project successfully. A project sponsor is someone who supports the project and is responsible for its successful completion.

Here are some pointers on how to work effectively with a project sponsor −

  • Communication is key − Establish clear communication channels with the project sponsor. Update them on the project's progress and any changes that occur on a regular basis. Maintain constant communication with the project sponsor about any issues that may arise.

  • Define roles and responsibilities − Clearly define the project sponsor's and the project team's roles and responsibilities. This will assist in avoiding confusion and ensuring that everyone is working towards the same goals.

  • Set realistic expectations − Ascertain that the project sponsor understands the scope of the project and what can be realistically accomplished within the given timeline and budget.

  • Be open to feedback − Pay attention to the feedback and suggestions of the project sponsor. They may have useful insights that can help the project.

  • Keep the project sponsor engaged − Involve the project sponsor as much as possible. This will keep them interested and invested in the project's success.

Examples of Successful Project Sponsorship in Real-world Scenarios

There are numerous real-world examples of successful project sponsorship in which the sponsor played a pivotal role in the project's ultimate success. One such instance is Dubai's Burj Khalifa construction. The project's sponsor, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, provided the financial and political backing it needed to be a success. As another example, consider how Apple Inc.'s development of the iPhone was able to revolutionize the smartphone industry because project sponsor Steve Jobs provided the team with the necessary leadership and vision. These are just a few scenarios in which project sponsors played an important role.

The Impact of Project Sponsors on Project Governance and Decision-making

Project sponsors are instrumental in shaping management and decision-making because they determine the project's overarching goals and scope. The project's backer is responsible for outlining the endeavor's goals, parameters, and schedule.

In addition, the outcome of the project may be significantly affected by the sponsor's participation in the decision-making process. Sponsors must understand and share with the team the project's scope, goals, and objectives. They must be willing to make difficult decisions in order to keep the project on track.

Open communication between the sponsor and the team is essential for a well-managed project. The sponsor's responsibilities include keeping tabs on the project's progress, addressing any issues that arise, and lending a hand when needed.

Updated on: 10-May-2023


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