A solid rapport between sponsors and project managers starts even before the project begins.
“Just as you would do a kicko; meeting for a project, it’s important to do a kicko; meeting for the
project manager-sponsor relationship,” says Paul
Dinsmore, PMP, PMI Fellow, director, DinsmoreCompass Consulting Co., Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At
this initial meeting, which ideally lasts at least an
hour, “both parties should outline what they understand their roles to be,” says Mr. Dinsmore, who has
worked as a sponsor. By the meeting’s conclusion,
the project manager and sponsor should each have
a written document that lists their responsibilities.
;at should be the start, not the end, of the
dialogue. Maintain communication as the project
progresses, especially with face-to-face meetings.
“It’s essential that the project manager and project
sponsor have at least a half hour booked every
month,” says Vicki James, PMP, senior project
manager and business analyst, Professional Project
Services, Seattle, Washington, USA.
Ms. James recalls working on a project whose
release date kept getting delayed. “I was reporting
it all along, but only in status reports,” she says. “At
the last minute, the sponsor said, ‘Wait a minute.
Why didn’t I know the release date was getting
pushed?’ I guess she didn’t read my reports.”
;e entire half hour of in-person meetings may
not be needed, Ms. James says, but the time can be
used to quickly go over the status report and ensure
everyone is in the know.
“Getting the sponsor involved is a huge piece
of a successful project,” says Jessica Janko, PMP,
PMO manager, Medical Transporta-
tion Management, St. Louis, Missouri,
USA. “If you don’t have an active
sponsor, it’s challenging not only
because you don’t have clear expecta-
tions in terms of what the organiza-
tion is trying to accomplish, but you
also don’t have an advocate for the
project. We need project sponsors as
much as they need project managers.”
Of course, all relationships take
work. ;ese strategies can help both
sponsors and project managers build
an e;ective partnership.
is a huge piece
of a successful
project. We need
as much as they
—Jessica Janko, PMP, Medical
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Sponsors in Action
ON TARGE T
of projects at high-performing organizations—
those that complete 80% of projects on time,
on budget and within original goals—have active
sponsors. At low-performing organizations, just
45% of projects have active sponsors.
of strategic initiatives are successful when they have actively
engaged sponsors. Without active
sponsors, just 41% of strategic
initiatives are successful.