How to stop projects derailing because of insufficient sponsor support
How would your executive sponsor respond if they were told that they aren’t providing sufficient project support despite their best efforts. Can you talk openly with them about the successes and failures of your project support?
Gartner analyst Michael Hanford suggests that you reexamine your ability and willingness to manage a project with someone you don’t like. (Full article for Gartner clients.
Hanford writes that “Lacking an effective level [sponsor] engagement cost effort drives rework and raises risk from an inability get timely and workable decisions.”
Despite the importance of this role, many businesses struggle with this aspect. According to PMI’s 2018 Pulse of the Profession report (which includes most small businesses), insufficient sponsor support is the main cause of failed projects in an average of 26% of organizations, and 41% of organizations with low project management maturity (which also includes large corporations).
This is why the executive sponsor role is so important to project success. It’s why it’s so important to be a project manager and know how to manage different personalities. This will allow you to keep sponsors invested in your project.
This article will discuss some of the most common types and characteristics of project sponsors that you might encounter, as well as tips to help you navigate this partnership.
Executive sponsor and their responsibilities
Many businesses have difficulty securing sponsor support because there is not enough clarity or consistency around the sponsor role and their responsibilities.
Executives, project managers, and other business professionals all have different ideas about what this role involves.
PMI has recently stepped in to provide much-needed guidance regarding the executive sponsor definition. We’ve highlighted these below:
What is the role of the executive sponsor?
An executive sponsor is a leader or executive who has overall responsibility for a project. They are responsible for project success. They are responsible for overseeing the project’s entire life cycle, from conception to adoption.
Responsibilities of the executive sponsor
Executive sponsors are responsible to initiate, approve, approve, and implement the vision, governance, value/benefits realization, and for ensuring that it is carried out. These job areas are described in detail by PMI.
Here are some examples of executive sponsor responsibilities
Engaged executive sponsors help bridge gaps, remove roadblocks and ensure that stakeholders are aligned to achieve project goals. This role is not for everyone. To be a successful sponsor, you need to have experience, training, coaching, and a lot of coaching.
How engaged is your executive sponsor
We asked project managers to share their experiences with different types sponsors. We looked for common themes in their stories.
Here are four types of sponsors that you might encounter in your career.
1. Engaged and Invested
This ES is knowledgeable in the subject matter and finds the right balance of involvement and trusting the team to make the decisions. Helps to remove roadblocks and provides support.
This approach requires time and experience, but they can still benefit greatly from guidance from the PM about how to best assist the team.
2. Moderately engaged, but craves headlines
This ES wants to know, but doesn’t have the time or patience for all details. This ES will escalate issues and communicate project status to the top, but may overlook or trivialize key sponsor responsibilities.
This is often the case when the ES has other priorities.