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Sponsor and his role

  • PMP®
  • Project Integration Management
Created on :
June 23, 2014
Updated on :
October 27, 2022
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Today we are discussing yet another confused matter “Who is Sponsor”. Multiple times PMP® certification aspirants have lot of confusions around this personality and also around roles of this personality. It’s really an interesting role and very important stakeholder from PMP® certification’s prospective. Clarity around this will help PMP® Certification aspirants in multiple dimensions. Let’s have an insight into this today

One point which most of us are sort of aware of is

Sponsor finance the project and provide required resources and Sponsor is the one who authorize the project. When we say authorize the project what do we mean? It means, he/she is the one who appoint Project Manager and formally authorize him to use the resources for the project. This is a very important point to understand and making sure you know what authorization all about.

Let’s move to few interesting cores of this role

  • Key link between the project management team and the organization’s executive management
    • It makes lot of difference how sponsor showcase your project to outer world. That gives lot of visibility to the project itself and of-course the team executing it
  • Sponsor does stake holder management
    • Sponsor is the one who, in the initial stages of project, has to create sense of commitment and create a balance between customer’s (higher management) expectation and his own organization’s targets
  • Accountable for project
    • If your project doesn’t go well, no doubt Project Manager will be asked questions but ultimately Sponsor is the one accountable for it because he is one who was supposed to make the project a success. He is the one who convinced organization to take this project forward and has shown the vision of it
    • Ultimately he is the one who Owns it
  • Big support to Project Manager – in Tricky situations and to provide Organizational Support
    • PM has full authority as far as project team is concerned but when it comes to outside project team, PM needs sponsor’s back up to present his case and get it heard by right stakeholders in the interest of the project
    • Issues/challenges outside the authoritative levels of project team are in Sponsor’s bucket to get resolution on
  • Align project with overall strategic/Business goals & Vision
    • Sponsor talks about big picture. He is the one having vision of project w.r.t organization level goals. He also ensures people & processes are robust enough to maintain the project outputs in longer run from operations prospective
    • He makes sure Business objectives are communicated to the team on regular basis to make sure team is focused towards it
  • Most of the time he belongs to executing organization
    • In some cases, depending on the contract, he can be from Buyer’s side as well e.g. in case of Time & Material contract, resources are augmented and rest all happens with buyer’s organization
  • Key role in Change Control
    • Whenever new scope/additional cost kind of decisions are required Sponsor plays key role. Such funds are also provided/approved by Sponsor for project team.
    • He may/may not ask for additional cost to customer
  • Powerful person (not necessarily physically)
    • He has lot of authoritative says in many high level decision makings and if he stands for the project he can be a super power to project team
  • Influential personality
    • He is the one who’s influence/motivation strengthen of project team and make other stakeholder satisfied from project performance
    • It’s his attitude and the way of presenting team performance to senior management which can boost the team
  • Ultimate fund provider and resource provider (these two things matters the most)
    • Last but not the least, as discussed at the beginning, he is one who arrange all kind of resources to initiate, complete and maintain the project outcomes along with changes
    • He is one who provide funds to project
    • He is the one who appoints PM and authorize him to use the organization resources for the project. He should always be careful about the thin line where he doesn’t do too much micro-management that there is no room for PM to operate freely

I hope this blog helps you clear all your open queries about Sponsor and his roles. Please feel free to connect with us and ask follow up questions on our Discussion Forum . You can also log into our YouTube channel watch the video on the related topics. All the best