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Topics: Organizational Project Management
What is the role of a PMO Manager vs the Project Sponsor?
Hello friends - I know, in theory, what the role is of the PMO Director/Manager/Lead and the Project Sponsor however I'm struggling to understand how their roles differ in practice.

I assume there is a lot to be said about the type of the PMO and how that might shape the role of the Director/Manager/Lead, but I'm hoping to hear more about your experiences and perspectives in this regard.

My organization has had a PMO for years however leadership within it wasn't great. Recently we got a new Sr Manager and I'm finding myself in conflict understanding their roles, relative to mine.

I have asked for clarity but the answer seemed to place the Sr Manager responsible for the project, the same way that the Sponsor is, and so again I feel a bit confused.
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From a Lead perspective.
Managers and sponsors are two different roles but some times a Sr.manager has a very good experience, knowledge and time which enables them to chip in and boost the process efficiency wise.
"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is." Yogi Berra

However, I think an article (the link below), entitled "Project sponsorship, senior management's role in the successful outcome of projects" by Ori Schibi & Cheryl Lee, provides an excellent summary of the project sponsor's tasks.
Nour -

This really depends on what the PMO's mandate is. If the PMO does not have a delivery responsibility then the PMO leader might have nothing to do with a given project or program.

There are a number of key differences - the sponsor is usually the source of funding and approval of the project. PMO leaders usually don't approve the launch of projects.

The sponsor would also usually have the success of the project tied to their area's strategy whereas a PMO leader would be looking at the overall portfolio over which their PMO has an oversight role.

Your project sponsor is the one who champions your project across the organization. Ideally, the sponsor has one and only one project to govern.

The PMO's goal is to ensure project outcomes are transformed into business benefits.
A sponsor owns a project, they are responsible to integrate its results into the business are and to provide the power to the project it needs to run. I have seen many sponsors running several projects in their business area (marketing, sales, production, finance etc).

A program manager can be a sponsor for the projects in the program, and if there is a Program Office as PMO, indeed this PMO can represent the sponsor.

Referring to Kiron, I have rarely seen an organizational PMO having the mandate for business development across areas, so no sponsors from the PMO.

Maria, thanks for sharing the link, good one.
The Sponsor essentially establish/sets project functional requirements (scope) and constraints (cost and schedule) and ensures that the final deliverable is of value to the corporation. The Sponsor has ultimate authorization for any changes to the requirements and cost and schedule constraints.

The PMO Director/Manager is responsible for delivering what has been defined by the sponsor (project requirements and constraints). The PMO Director/Manager has ultimate authorization as to the methodology applied to deliver the project.

The Sponsor defines the needs and is accountable for ensuring the needs meet the corporate requirements. The PMO Director/Manager delivers the needs and is accountable for ensuring the deliverable meet the needs defined by the sponsor.

These are two separate and sometimes conflicting roles however one person can be assigned both. It means having two hats and knowing which hat you have on at any given moment.

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