The Framework of the Project Sponsor Role - What the Sponsors Need From the Project to Fulfill those Responsibilities
The Framework of the Project Sponsor Role - What the Sponsors Need From the Project to Fulfill those Responsibilities (#4 in the series Looking for Your Sponsor? The PRINCE2™ Project Board Approach to Senior Management Engagement)
By Jay Siegelaub - MBA, PMP, PRINCE2
There is another side to this equation: what these senior managers will need from the project so that they can deliver what the project asks of them. There are several requests they might make when requested to take on these roles:
- “What specifically do you want us to do, and when will you need us to do it? We want to know what our obligations are before we agree to move forward with this.” If we want commitment from these senior people, they will want to know – and we want them to know – what they are committing to: agreed roles and responsibilities. The “when” part is important too: “How much of our time is going to be needed as we move through the project, and when?”
“If you’re asking us to be accountable for the project’s results, we will need reliable and timely information to make decisions about the project. As we being held accountable for project results, we want to be able to assess progress at key points along the way and determine whether the project continues to meet our needs.” Communication is a central element of a project manager’s job, and to obtain the benefits of senior management commitment to the project (to mitigate the risks we have discussed), it will be necessary to provide them with suitable information for decision-making.
“If we’re not going to be involved on a daily basis, how can we be confident that the work of the project is being done properly? We will need reliable controls in place that assurance us that the work of the project – both the technical work and the managing of the project itself – is being performed to agreed-upon standards. We also want to be kept informed of the occurrence and handling of any major problems that arise in the project.” The project will need control mechanisms for the Project Board to provide confidence in the project process without overburdening either the Sponsors or the project manager. As project managers we would additionally encourage them to use specialized assurance resources they feel are necessary to confirm that the work is being right. We welcome their oversight as an additional set of eyes, to protect everyone involved with the project by detecting problems before they undermine the project.
With a common understanding of how the project is going to be run and how problems will be handled, all parties are working to the same expectations.
Jay Siegelaub has over 30 years of professional experience delivering and supporting projects in information technology, insurance systems, banking, and nonprofit strategic planning, as well as in the pharmaceutical, financial service, consulting, and consumer products industries. As a recognized educator he has trained thousands of project managers over the past 23 years, including 13 years as the Project Management tutorial instructor for the Drug Information Association.
Jay’s recent responsibilities included leading the North American Change Management and Training practices for a UK-based management consulting firm, training corporate consulting professionals in project and program management, and supporting clients in managing the “people” issues of their business change initiatives. He has authored articles on training, project management and information technology for various publications, and often presents at conferences, including the PMI North American Congress (1999, and 2004 – 2007), ProjectWorld and ProjectSummit.
In addition to his PMP® certification, Jay has his MBA in Organization Management from New York University’s Stern School of Business, and is an accredited PRINCE2™ Practitioner, Instructor and Examiner. He has taught and consulted in PRINCE2™ in North America for 10 years (the first US-accredited PRINCE2™ instructor), and worked for the company (and with the authors) that wrote the PRINCE2™ Manual for the UK government.
He has provided Change Management and Project Management consulting and training (including PRINCE2) to companies such as Sun Microsystems, NATO, the United Nations Development Programme, Bechtel, IBM, Philip Morris, Credit Suisse, JPMorganChase and Diageo.
Jay also consults in Organizational and Professional Development.
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