The value of executive project sponsorship is not overrated. The executive sponsor has a different role to play from that of a project manager, which is not comparable. A project cannot do without the governance of a project sponsor. A project should be considered as an organization that needs to be governed.
What is Project Sponsorship and why is it necessary?
Project sponsorship is whereby senior management plays an active role in identifying a business problem or an opportunity. Once a project has been identified, sponsors work to ensure that the project runs well to achieve its intended goals by handling any challenges that are beyond the capabilities of the project manager (James, Rosenhead, & Taylor, 2013). Projects, according to Muller (2017), are temporary organizations that cannot do without proper governance. A sponsor, as noted by Chandler & Hall (2017), assigns a project manager and helps him/her in planning, coming up with work procedures, hiring key staff, and other needs that initiate the project. Sponsorship is needed to ensure that the project meets business goals. Thus, the sponsors involve themselves based on how risky the project is, the dynamics of the project, the magnitude of the challenges faced, the type of customer and customer’s needs, the resources required, and other necessities (Williams, 2017). Projects can be different demanding a variation in their governance. For example, from the operation’s perspective, projects can be work processes; while from the management’s perspective, projects can be implementation processes (Muller, 2017). From the organizational perspective, Muller (2017) conveys that projects regardless of their differences are all temporary organizations, which are there to act as the agencies for organizational change, managing business risks, and ensuring resources are utilized well for production purposes. All projects need a project manager that serves the project sponsor. The value of sponsorship is high when clients are external and business contracts are necessary. That is because the project sponsors are those that have the full knowledge of the contractual agreements made with the customer. Therefore, it is sponsor’s responsibility to negotiate with the customer and approve the contract, select project manager and suitable subcontractors, identify project risks, review the contractual terms, and set priorities of the project among others. Project sponsors have a key role they play in project management that project managers cannot do (Chandler & Hall, 2017).
From the different perspectives projects are viewed, it can be easily said that the role of executive sponsorship is overrated. A project sponsor governs every project that is within an organizational context. The role of a project sponsor is mainly to ensure that every project meets organizational goals and a project manager cannot play that role since he/she does not have the required knowledge. A project cannot succeed without the governance of a project sponsor.
Chandler, D. E., & Hall, P. (2017). Improving executive sponsorship of projects – A holistic approach. New York: Business Expert Press
James, V., Rosenhead, R. & Taylor, P. (2013). Strategies for project sponsorship: Introduction to project sponsorship. New York: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Müller, R. (2017). Governance and governmentality for projects – Enablers, practices, and consequences. New York: Routledge
Williams, T. C. (2017). Filling execution gaps: How executives and project managers turn corporate strategy into successful projects: Engaged executive sponsors. New York: Walter de Gruyter GmbH 7 Co KG
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