Some businesses have groups of people working on projects to advance the company’s goals. These projects require many skills for completion. While skills are important to ensure the project is a success, it is equally important that the team works well together. To ensure that cooperation is happening and deadlines are being made, then a leader, such as a project sponsor, is needed.
This article will give you the ins and outs of what it means to be a project sponsor and their role in the business. Let’s start!
What is a Project Sponsor?
Before we can get into the meat of what this role is, we first have to understand what it is. A project sponsor is someone with an upper management role that provides all the resources, assistance, and leadership to the project at hand. In fact, they technically “own” the project. Not in the sense that it is theirs, but that it is their responsibility. They are also known as an account manager, business unit manager, product sponsor, or project director.
A project sponsor also is linked to the project manager and others who have a say in things. They must also figure out how much time they want to put into the task, but that also depends on their role in the company.
For example, a CEO would not be devoting as much time to a project than say, a director. An important step with having a project sponsor is ensuring that everyone understands their role in the task and what the expectations are.
The Role of a Project Sponsor
As previously stated, the project sponsor is responsible for the oversight of a business project. This means that the project sponsor must be able to resolve issues, keep an eye on progress, and keep in touch with others in the business to ensure maximum efficiency.
The project sponsor is responsible for the projects beginning, middle, and end. This is usually done in three phases:
- The Planning Phase where they plan the project and ensure that everything is doable.
- The Implementation Phase when the project sponsor works with the project manager by giving feedback and keeping an eye out for any issues.
- The Closing Phase is when the project is done and the project sponsor looks it over and provides feedback.
What Does a Good Project Sponsor Look Like?
A good way to get a project sponsor is to prepare an explanation of the project and what your expectations are. Explaining this to potential candidates can assist you in locating someone that is right for the job. When you meet with a candidate explain to them the resources they have at their disposal, what assistance they will get, what their contribution is to the project, and how to communicate with the other branches of the business.
Now, this all seems like a lot, but it is important for companies to find the right fit for the role. On the other side, if you are wanting to become a project sponsor then you want to know what you are walking into. No one said you had to say yes to it.
If interested in becoming a project sponsor, then follow these key tips:
- The project manager is responsible for the project getting done on time, not you. You need to ensure that the business outcomes are in the business’s favor.
- The project must be done to make change. If you can’t make change for the business, then you didn’t do a good job.
- Your team determines success or failure. Sort through who you want on your team.
- You can’t focus on everything, focus on the important things like risks and decision-making.
- Visit often, but not just with the team, but with the other parts of the business that factor into it. They need to know what is going on and that is your responsibility.
The project sponsor is a very important role in business. They are essentially a middleman between the project itself and the rest of the business. It is up to the business sponsor that the task is a net gain for the business.
While this sounds like a difficult position, it is. Whether you want to be one or are looking for one, don’t hold back. Make sure that everything is in place before you can start.