Dear PM Advisor. May 20, 2013

Dear PM Advisor, We don't currently use sponsors in our organization but I can see their value. What process should we use in picking them?

Unsponsored in Delaware.

Dear Unsponsored,

There are some key roles for the sponsors to fill on your project:

  1. Provide funding
  2. Remove obstacles above the Project Manager's pay-grade
  3. Mentor the Project Manager
  4. Provide political information to assist the Project Manager

When people see 'Provide Funding' they assume that the Sponsor must be the President of the company and make the mistake of calling this person the Sponsor for every project. That doesn't work. If you have the same \Sponsor for every project, nobody will fight for your particular project.

Best practice is that the Sponsor be at the VP level so that they can provide that mentorship and political knowledge and remove the significant obstacles. But it is best if the Sponsor is somewhat external tot he project. By this I mean that they can remain objective about the project's goals. You don't want the VP of R&D to be the sponsor of her pet development project. Instead, pull in the VP of Regulatory Affairs to apply that objective reason to this project.

Good luck,

PM Advisor.

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