What is the connection? He said:
“80% of life is turning up.”
When I read this I immediately linked this with project sponsorship. Why? Because so many project managers have complained about:
- not knowing who their sponsor is
- having a sponsor who is a named person but is inactive
- having a sponsor who forgets the overall business benefits and gets enmeshed in business politics
- the sponsor who says: “My door is always open.” But, as one project manager found out, “Yes, it is always open but there is never anyone behind it”
These are only a few of many comments levelled against you sponsors! (I know, you could get your own back on project managers!)
So what does it mean by the project sponsor turning up?
At a minimum, the sponsor should be aware that they are sponsoring a project. Yes, it’s very simplistic but some do not realise they are a sponsor. It is not made explicitly clear at the start of the project nor what it means. This makes for a potentially rocky road ahead for the project, the project manager and the team.
So what is the key sponsor role? I was asked this recently and I showed the list of key responsibilities for a project sponsor to the group. I picked out:
The project sponsor should be engaged as well as having the energy and motivation to ensure effective delivery of the project – through others.
The group agreed feeling felt this one alone if acted upon by the sponsor would make such a positive difference to the delivery of the project.
So, project managers, does your sponsor turn up? Project sponsors, do your project managers turn up? How about the two of you sitting down and working out what each person’s expectations are?
Is this a bit too radical? Not according to some of the people who have come along to some of my workshops. Clearly, I do not think it is too radical. What about you?
Photograph courtesy of Google Images (labelled for use with modifications)