Working with Project Sponsors

(Project Management Tip)

Projects should have a project sponsor but what if the sponsor isn’t on board, distant, or are disengaged. What then?

Disengaged or difficult project sponsors have the potential to cause a project to go off the rails, negatively affecting stakeholders, and impeding project success. There are several reasons why a project sponsor may become disengaged:

  • Interest;
  • Expectation;
  • Availability; or
  • Knowledge and experience.

As a project manager, there are several steps you can take to build and maintain a strong relationship with sponsors:

  • Always involve them in key decisions;
  • Keep them informed about the project;
  • Guide them through their roles and responsibilities; and
  • Ask the sponsor for feedback.

Tried these steps and you’re still not connecting, try looking sideways. Discuss concerns with a trusted peer, a peer of the sponsor or even another executive if you have the opportunity. They may be able to provide a valuable perspective and advice on an alternative way to approach the situation.

No matter how disengaged a project sponsor may be, there is always an opportunity to build or rebuild their relationship with the project and win over their support. Engaged project sponsors can use their influence to:

  • Prevail over challenges;
  • Keep the project and the company visions aligned;
  • Remove roadblocks; and
  • Drive successful change.

Get in touch with us at Core Project Advisory for project governance advice and subscribe to the Core PA E-News for more project management tips.