Building exceptional project support inside your organization will help you deliver more projects, more quickly. However, as project manager, you will be busy executing project deliverables in the heat of project work, and will need an advocate to promote your success to the organization. We hear all too often of illness in the sponsorship role. Here are three tips to help identifiy what you need from your sponsor to be successful, ensuring your sponsor works with you to build exceptional project support.
1. Make sure your sponsor understands their role in the project
Many executives who inherit the role of project sponsor don’t come from the ranks of project manager, and may not always know how to best serve you and your project. As sponsor, they are the internal recipient of project results. That means, your sponsor should be spearheading the effort to define and finalize scope for the project. They will own funding and signatory responsibility for the project, and therefore carry the weight of explicit authority for your project on behalf of the organization.
2. Make sure your sponsor understands your role in the project
For the sponsor without a great deal of project management experience, this is one of the most critical teachings you can convey: Your sponsor provides the coaching, you provide the workforce. They have a distinct role in the project management ecosystem; they keep the you, the team, and the organization excited, motivated, and sold on the vision of your project, and to the change in the worldview that is possible when your project is complete. They sell your project up and out; without vocal supportive sponsors on the rooftops of your organization, there is a greater chance for your project to wither on the vine.
3. Make sure your sponsor is a diplomat
The utility of the project manager-sponsor relationship can be quite broad when it is working. But your immediate use for a good sponsor is far more tactical. Your sponsor will make your job easier by navigating complex policy across the organization, negotiating conflict when departments collide, and continuing to sell your project in spite of opposition in the ranks. As project manager, it is easy to imagine the weight of the all these functions on your shoulders, but do not underestimate the power of your executive sponser in taking the charge for you, to free you to do the work of the project.
Remember, as we say so often: the project must win. If you find you don’t have the kind of attention your team needs to get your project done, look to your sponsor to help you build exceptional project support.
The Project Sponsorship Audit is a useful tool for analyzing and identifying potential pitfalls in your sponsorship process, and help you identify solutions and recommendations for change. Click here to download the PDF free from Cadence today.