Project Management

Sponsor and PM: The Perfect Leadership Team?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

All projects have a sponsor--the individual who champions the purpose of the project and helps ensure that the initiative is approved and appropriately funded. Once that approval has been given, a project manager will also be appointed to the initiative and the real work can begin.

This combination of sponsor and project manager should form a powerful leadership team that can help create a positive environment where team members can come together and focus on delivering the goals and objectives of the project. In reality, that often fails to occur--and the fault frequently lies with a “broken” sponsor/project manager relationship. That’s what I want to address in this article.

Two complementary roles, badly misunderstood
Sponsors and project managers should form a powerful alliance when it comes to project leadership. The sponsor is the champion of the initiative within the organization--facing out to the business functions, client groups, resource owners, etc. that will help to allow the project succeed. The project manager is the inward-facing leader, focusing on the project team and creating an environment where they can focus on their tasks without worrying about any peripheral issues. This partnership should continue throughout the entire project--the two leaders standing back to back, one facing the organization and one facing the team. …


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- Mark Twain