The Role of a Project Sponsor — 5 Key Characteristics

The Role of a Project Sponsor — 5 Key Characteristics
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Role of Project Sponsor
We know from project post mortem data that there are many reasons that an important project can fail.  But if you have a well-chosen project sponsor, they can often navigate you safely past all kinds of stumbling blocks and guide you and your project team to deliver what was promised in a way that makes sense.  And it often starts with having the role of a project sponsor clearly defined and agreed upon.

What a Project Sponsor Is
In some instances, the project sponsor is unknown, unclear, or ineffective. Often project leaders report that project sponsors are too busy to provide meaningful support. While this may be OK for less complex projects, it can spell disaster for complex, urgent, and high-stakes projects.

We define the role of the Project Sponsor as the person with overall accountability for driving the project toward a successful conclusion for the company, the project team, and the project stakeholders. The Project Sponsor plays a vital leadership role as the executive liaison in terms of:

What a Project Sponsor Is NOT
Project sponsors do not:

  • Manage the project day-to-day
  • Carry out specific tasks
  • Bear responsibility for getting the job done

Why the Role of a Project Sponsor is Critical for Project Success
Tackling a challenging and highly visible project can be daunting for you and your project team. Enlist the support of a great executive sponsor, and you have a much better chance of success. Then agree upon how they can specifically help to ensure — without micromanaging the team — that the project and the project manager are performing at the right level.

The Bottom Line
If formal and authoritative sponsorship of your project is unclear or in name only, you have some work to do.  It is worth the time and effort to define a clear project sponsor with formal and active authority who is ultimately accountable for results and fully committed to project success.

To learn more about the Role of a Project Sponsor, download The 5 Critical Characteristics of a Great Executive Project Sponsor

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