Project Sponsor Roles and Responsibilities


Quick Summary
Screenshot A list of characteristics and responsibilities of the Project Sponsor. The Project Sponsor champions executive approval for the project.


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What this is

A list of characteristics and responsibilities of the Project Sponsor. The Project Sponsor champions executive approval for the project. The Project Sponsor provides official backing, support for obtaining timely resources, and strategic direction. He or she acts as the focal point for project decisions beyond the project manager's scope of authority.


Why it's useful

Project work often crosses functional and organizational boundaries and areas of responsibilities. A senior management person is often needed to remove obstacles, arbitrate conflict, and mediate negotiations. This person can also support, coach, and mentor the Team Leader or Project Manager.


How to use it

  • Read the recommended characteristics and role of a Project Sponsor and consider how it applies to your projects.
  • If your organization already appoints Project Sponsors, are they currently fulfilling the desired role? Are they consistently bringing the project teams the support and executive clout needed to overcome obstacles and resolve conflicts?
  • If your organization does not yet assign Project Sponsors to projects, you can try to get the practice started. The simplest way could be to be the first - and ask an executive to play the role of sponsor on your project.
  • Consider education for your executives as to what it means to be an effective sponsor. Use the checklist in this guideline to introduce them to the role. Use examples from previous projects showing where a Project Sponsor could have played a key role. Highlight current project situations that need executive-level support to resolve.
  • As your projects go forward, use the "Roles" and "Characteristics" lists in this file to judge whether the Project Sponsor role is being fully executed.

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Related Templates
Speaking Up – How to Make Your Case 
Learn how to make your case effectively with this simple model and accompanying checklist.

Role Comparison Checklist: Executive Sponsor and Project Owner 
These checklists compare the roles of the Project Manager and the Executive Sponsor in a variety of critical areas such as goals definition, planning, communication, scope changes, stakeholder management, and more.



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