In our book “Strategies for Project Sponsorship” (published by Management Concepts) we made the suggestion the company should be making every effort to interview for project sponsors. Not external candidates, but internal ones.
Now as we suggested in the book, “if your company has a strong project management culture this idea is entirely plausible. If not, then it is something to work on.”
So what are the benefits of having formal interviews for project sponsors?
1 It says to a successful sponsor – you are sponsoring the XX project. Many project managers would welcome this saying it would really contribute to a more successful project (see PMI Pulse of the profession reports 2017)
2 Interviews often mean that some people will not be successful. This can help to link into a development plan for those individuals. This will be needed as PMI have predicted that by 2020 some 15.7 million new project managers will be needed worldwide across 7 project intensive industries. Think about the number of new project sponsors that will be needed!
Some people will self- select themselves out of the process citing inexperience for example. Again, this is where development plans come into their own.
Someone needs to oversee the project management portfolio ensuring that they are sufficiently staffed and staffed by the right project sponsor. If this is not done then delivering the key strategies could well be challenged
3 You will be matching the sponsor to the project. Hopefully there is a fit, rather than some of the situations I have seen e.g. a sponsor selected for a major transformational change project with a high degree of risk and high cost. What is the likelihood of success?
4 It can help develop the overall project management culture – talking about the need for an engaged project sponsor, analysing project sponsorship needs, analysing etc. – helping to move project management forward
Now I know from the looks on people’s faces or the comments I get back that this suggestion is not one that will be easily acceptable by some of you. Ask yourself these questions;
- how well trained are our project sponsors?
- are you matching skills of the sponsor to the project?
- do you have sufficient projects sponsors (who are trained)
Food for thought? So, how do you feel about introducing a selection process for project sponsors?