Roles and responsibilities of a Project Sponsor

There is not much stress on the role of sponsor in general management books and even some of them completely forget to mention about them. Project Sponsor is the backbone for the entire Project without whom the project wouldn’t be started. Let me present few roles and responsibilities of Project Sponsor:

* Sponsor is a key stakeholder of the project and there may be more than one sponsor exists for a project.

* The sponsor is the person or group that provides the financial resources, in cash or in kind, for the project.

* The project sponsor works with the project management team, especially helping with project matters such as funding, scope clarification, progress monitoring, and influencing others in order to benefit the project.

* Expectations of Project Sponsor is an important component which is to be reviewed by the project manager throughout the project life cycle.

* The sponsor leads the project through the engagement/ selection process till it is formally authorized, and therefore plays a dominant role in the development of the initial scope and charter.

* A project sponsor, at a level that is appropriate to funding the project, authorizes the project by approving a project charter. Projects are usually chartered and authorized external to the project.

* On some projects, the sponsor may also be part of the project team. As sponsors have a major share in the project’s success, and therefore, at times, may take an active role on the project team.

* For issues that are beyond the control of the project manager, the sponsor serves as an escalation path.

* The sponsor deals directly, and most often, with the project manager. For some projects, the sponsor may also interact with the project team and other key stakeholders, particularly when resolving issues that have been escalated.

* The sponsor may also be involved in other important issues such as authorizing changes in scope, phase-end reviews, and go/no-go decisions when risks are particularly high.

* For internal projects, the project sponsor provides the statement of work based on business needs, product, or service requirements.

* In the early stages of the project life cycle, periodic review of the business case by the sponsor helps to confirm that requirement of the project is still valid in current situation.

* The Sponsor acceptance required during the close of project and it should be documented as part of the project closure phase.

2 thoughts on “Roles and responsibilities of a Project Sponsor

  1. I agree with John. Joint project sponsorship is a disaster. Ultimately you need one strong individual to server in this role and act as final decision maker when working concensus has failed at the lower ranks… and sometimes to pull in the reigns even when the team is agreeing.

  2. I once ran a project with joint project sponsors and it was an absolute nightmare. They both assumed the other guy would do whatever was needed or disagreed totally on what needed to be done. IMHO it comes just behind having no sponsor in terms of serious project risks!

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