December 30, 2012 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Project Stakeholder Management
The PMO as Sponsor
By Peter Taylor
I have talked often about the importance of good sponsorship for a project and project manager. But what can be done when the sponsor(s) in place within an organization just aren’t up to the job.
Is it perhaps possible, in an organization that has weak or limited project sponsor capability, that the PMO could act as the supporter of sponsors on one hand and on the other perhaps the actual sponsor for the smaller project? It is surely better to have this rather than act with no sponsor representation at all. If the project is in direct support of the organization’s project practices (e.g., implementing a project management information system) then this will be definitely be a good match and if not then still a good PMO could offer a degree of objectivity and guidance.
The PMO might be a politically acceptable body to provide discrete support for project sponsors should this be required, that is if the PMO is well respected and acknowledged by the project sponsors themselves, as well as the business in general.
As the governance for the project methodology and standards it is natural that this would incorporate sponsorship tasks and deliverables and as such coaching and advice could be easily and sensitively provided upon request.
It would also be the PMOs role to garner and disseminate lessons learned to the project community and, if issues with previous sponsorship capability are raised then this brings the subject under the wing of the PMO anyway.
I am not arguing here that PMO is the answer to a void in project sponsorship inside an organization, certainly not. And I fully recognize that any role a PMO does play in this area should only be an interim solution whilst a proper and mature sponsorship practice is developed. Indeed not even the best willed PMO can offer everything that a sponsor should provide but that said there would be a very strong argument that, in the absence of a ‘good’ project sponsor, the PMO can fill a void.
Something is definitely better than nothing in this case.
Despite his title of ‘The Lazy Project Manager’, Peter Taylor is in fact a dynamic and commercially astute professional who has achieved notable success in project management, program management and the professional development of project managers: latterly as Head of Projects at a global supplier of performance system solutions, and currently as Director of a PMO at Siemens PLM Software, a global supplier of product lifecycle management solutions. He is an accomplished communicator and leader; always adopting a proactive and business-focused approach. He is also the author of ‘The Lazy Project Manager’ book (Infinite Ideas 2009) – for more information - www.thelazyprojectmanager.com - you can also subscribe to a series of free podcasts on iTunes (The Lazy Project Manager).