THE VALUE OF PROJECT SPONSORSHIP
Hafez Shurrab
hafez@student.chalmers.se
1
1.INTRODUCTION
In many organizations, Projects, whatever the purpose addressed for them, are usually
proposed by a membe...
2
performance and project team adherence if they consider using effective leadership and
communication skills.
3.ANALYSIS ...
3
5.REFERENCES
Dinsmore, P. and Cooke-Davies, T. (2006).Right projects done right! San Francisco:
Jossey-Bass.
Hobday, M. ...
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The Value of Project Sponsorship

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In many organizations, Projects, whatever the purpose addressed for them, are usually proposed by a member of a steering group. That is usually called a project sponsor. He/she is primarily the main responsible for the beneficial change to be integrated by a temporary organization (project, program or project portfolio) to a permanent organization (Dinsmore & Cooke-Davies, 2006, pp. 123). However, there are forms of organizations that project sponsors are rarely visible at in terms of control and power possession such as project-based organizations (PBO) (Hobday, 2000). That raise questions regarding the roles and crucial impact of project sponsor in relation with the success of projects and project management (PM). Therefore, in this article, the answers to what roles a project sponsor plays in a project and why they are crucial are discussed.

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The Value of Project Sponsorship

  1. 1. THE VALUE OF PROJECT SPONSORSHIP Hafez Shurrab hafez@student.chalmers.se
  2. 2. 1 1.INTRODUCTION In many organizations, Projects, whatever the purpose addressed for them, are usually proposed by a member of a steering group. That is usually called a project sponsor. He/she is primarily the main responsible for the beneficial change to be integrated by a temporary organization (project, program or project portfolio) to a permanent organization (Dinsmore & Cooke-Davies, 2006, pp. 123). However, there are forms of organizations that project sponsors are rarely visible at in terms of control and power possession such as project- based organizations (PBO) (Hobday, 2000). That raise questions regarding the roles and crucial impact of project sponsor in relation with the success of projects and project management (PM). Therefore, in this article, the answers to what roles a project sponsor plays in a project and why they are crucial are discussed. 2.THEORY 2.1. The Domain of Project Sponsor in Different Organizational Forms There are two extremes of organizational forms whereby a project sponsor may possess high or low power and control. Functionally-oriented matrix (FMD) represents one organizational form whereby PM focused on coordination is weak, while project sponsors (functional managers) take over the resources and authorities required. However, in such organizations, organizational learning (OL) is more facilitated and informal knowledge is more sharable. On the other hand, the structure of project matrix (as found in PBO) gives project managers direct resource control and contact with the client, while project sponsors are relatively weak in terms of cross-project integration and control. Nevertheless, lacking the proper ability to handle small non-complex projects, share knowledge, retain technical leadership, and manage human resources on a long-term basis are some weaknesses PBOs are usually characterized by. One strategy/solution for PBOs could be moving them toward project-led organization style whereby senior managers (project sponsors) possess more control, and learning is more functionally focused on (Hobday, M., 2000). 2.2. The Main Roles of Project Sponsors Dinsmore and Cooke-Davies (2006, pp. 123-131) discussed several key roles of a project sponsor. One role is owning the business case, which basically means that the project sponsor is accountable to the enterprise for the fulfilment of the proposed objectives. Another roles is being accountable for the benefits being harvested, which means that the project sponsor makes sure that the benefits assumed by business case have been realised before teams are disbanded. Moreover, serving as a governor of the project is another role that refers to the appraisal behavior done by the project sponsor to control the project performance and make sure the project team maintains forward-looking control through an appropriate information system and supportive metrics. Furthermore, the fact that the project sponsors are regarded as friends in high places may increase their contributions to any project. Apart from the operational side, project sponsors can improve a project
  3. 3. 2 performance and project team adherence if they consider using effective leadership and communication skills. 3.ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION Hobday, M. (2000) discussed disadvantages of a project sponsor domain found in FMD and PBO. At one extreme, FMD does not facilitate PM focused on coordination because of the great control and authority given to the project sponsor. At the other extreme, PBOs experience difficulties in knowledge sharing, technical leadership retention and long-term resource management because senior managers (project sponsors) lack enough cross- project integration and control to recover these deficits. From that, we can extrapolate that the balance is required to be maintained between the key roles of a project sponsor and a project manager. Hobday, M. (2000) proposed that PBOs need to move toward a project- led organization style as a strategy to develop the role of project sponsor in and overcome the disadvantages mentioned earlier. That could be an obvious evidence to the impact and crucial role of project sponsors in the success of projects and PM. Dinsmore and Cooke-Davies (2006, pp. 123-131) addressed the key roles of project sponsors that make a significant difference on results. For example, a project sponsor owns a business case to articulate how the project will create additional value to the enterprise. As a result for the project team, projects become more meaningful and objectives become easier to communicate. Another example is the challenges of leadership roles the project sponsor should properly deal with. That may include paying attention to the external environment, interpersonal relationships, and personal behavior, attitudes, and values. Therefore, a project sponsor has the chance to inject a great impact on the success of a project by using effective leadership skills and being a visible motivating champion. 4.CONCLUSION Project sponsorship domain should be adapted and balanced so that the key roles of both project sponsor and project manager are not undermined. The main roles of project sponsors start with justifying the project itself by owning a business case. A sponsor makes sure that all parties involved are clear about their roles. Moreover, sponsors govern projects by making sure that the right decisions are made by the right people in the right way until the benefits assumed by the business case are realised. Project sponsors plays the role of project champions using their leadership skills that may include passionately portraying a congruent belief in the business case and encouraging the project manager and team to think outside the box and look for solutions that will address the overall project goals.
  4. 4. 3 5.REFERENCES Dinsmore, P. and Cooke-Davies, T. (2006).Right projects done right! San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Hobday, M. (2000). The project-based organisation: an ideal form for managing complex products and systems? Research policy, 29 (7), pp. 871-893.

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