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PMP® Exam Prep - Why do You Need to Meet the Project Sponsor?

PMP® Exam Prep - Why do You Need to Meet the Project Sponsor?

By Mo Haque, MSEE, MSEE, PMP - 3-9-2012 - this has been slightly updated 2-13-16

After you are appointed the project manager, the first stakeholder you are likely to meet is the project sponsor or some of the relevant stakeholders. The project sponsor is an individual who provides the financial resources for your project. It is usual that the project sponsor is the person who hires you or appoints the position of project manager.

The sponsor informs you of his or her expectations for the project. When you meet with him or her, the sponsor will discuss your project’s limitations, your implementation approach, and the target cost or target schedule. This outcome may not happen in a single meeting. You may meet the sponsor several times to get all of his / her expectations.

It is imperative that you understand the sponsor’s role and seek his / her expectations for your project. The project and the PM’s success really is dependent upon understanding the project’s expectations.

The sponsor sanctions a project and assigns a project manager. Moreover, the sponsor is responsible for removing the project roadblocks. Here are typical responsibilities of a sponsor:
• Provides leadership across the organization
• Provides factors that may affect the project – Enterprise Environmental Factors
• Provides organizational policies, strategies and project objectives – Organizational Process Assets
• Owns the business case and provides justification of the project
• Sanctions a project and assigns a project manager
• Provides continuity of financial resources
• Keeps the project aligned with the organization’s direction, strategy and portfolio
• Provides project success assurance and removes roadblocks
• Directs and empowers the change management framework
• Governs or directs or enables project change management and risk management
• Focuses on the realization of project benefits across organizational boundaries
• Approves and recommends opportunities to optimize cost, benefits, and strategic alignment
• Supports the PM’s role / tasks / responsibilities
• Provides an ethical working environment and manages relationships with other sponsors

Due to the above expressive roles of a sponsor, a project manager should be aligned with the sponsor, understand his / her expectations and manage a strong relationship with him/her.

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