What Is a Project Sponsor?
According to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), the project sponsor is “a person or group who provides resources and support for the project, program or portfolio for enabling success.” More specifically, you can think of a project sponsor as the person who helps champion a project from its start to its completion. A project sponsor is responsible for the project’s success or failure and therefore has ultimate decision-making authority of the project.
A project sponsor’s role can be broken down into three parts: maintaining the vision, governing the project and delivering value. To maintain the vision of a project, project sponsors will ensure the project is in line with the overall corporate strategy from its inception. They will also make sure the project is viable and will adjust the project as needed if corporate strategy changes. Governing a project is not about micromanaging project managers but organizing the project and creating necessary processes. A project sponsor will determine priority of tasks in a project, create processes for escalations, and serve as an escalation point if issues cannot be solved autonomously. Finally, project sponsors will manage the risks and changes in a project to ensure its benefits are obtained. This makes them responsible for deliverables, keeping up with project statuses, and identifying and responding to any changes or challenges.