Sponsors are key members in any Project as they determine the success of the Project. This directly implicates that the roles and responsibilities of the Sponsors are equally important and challenging. So, let’s start by understanding the responsibilities of a Project Sponsor. Project Sponsors can be Project Champions or Process Owners.
Responsibilities – Project Sponsor
- To identify and review a new or existing project that would benefit the organization and ensures that it is aligned with the company’s business goals and strategies.
- Ensure that right team members are selected for the project. The Sponsor has to work with the Project Leader and other stakeholders for getting the right Team Members.
- Keep track of the Project and ensure that it progresses without any bottlenecks. The Sponsor should review the Project Plan and contribute towards successful planning and progression of the Project.
- Be a link between the Project Members and the organization’s stakeholders and get the necessary buy-in required for smooth movement of the Project. The Sponsor should be at a level where he has high influence on the stakeholders and high hold on the Process Owners.
- Approving any financials that are required for completing the Project. The Ownership of the Project success mostly lies with the Sponsor as they have to deal with all the financial loss/gain and therefore a financially sound person can do good justice to this role.
- Should ensure that the completed Project is handed over to the Process Owners and shows sustained improvements.
With a clear idea about the responsibilities of a Project Sponsor, let’s see how a Project Sponsor is identified and finalized for a Project.
Identifying and Finalizing a Project Sponsor
- A Process Owner / Process Stakeholder who has high influence in the Process and has the authority to approve any financials for Project completion.
- Has sufficient knowledge on the financials of the project and can review the progress of the Project without any difficulty.
- Is abreast with the problems being faced in the Process and can quickly contribute to the Project Initiation and during subsequent Project Reviews.
- Can coach and mentor the Project Members during the progress of the Project with his knowledge and authority.
Now that you know how you can identify and select a Project Sponsor, just imagine what an organization can do to create good Sponsors?
We are well aware of the fact that a successful Six Sigma Project is driven by Top Down approach – Top Management need to drive and support a Project. This can be achieved by creating awareness among the Top Management on the need of driving Six Sigma Projects.
For this, Six Sigma suggests an exclusive training for the Top Management – The Champions training, which gives the Top Management more clarity on the need of driving Six Sigma projects in their organization or process. This enables the Top Management with the approach that should be followed for being a Project Champion or Sponsor and how to successfully deliver their roles in any Project.
Importance of Project Sponsors
What are the implications of not having a Project Sponsor or having an inefficient Project Sponsor? The answer is very obvious; the success of the Project completely lies in the eyes of the Project Stakeholder. This will result in:
- A lot of chaos between the stakeholders as they would not have sufficient ground to decide the success of the Project.
- No clear review or coaching by the Top Management level, to guide and direct the Project into the right track as per the Organization’s vision.
- Any financials required for the movement of the Project would be either extended or result in dropping of the Project.
- Any bottlenecks in the Project may stay and hamper the success of the Project which can negatively impact the Organization depending on the necessity of the Project. (Projects initiated as a part of Client requirement may lead to loss of business and for any other Project, it may lead to financial loss.)
- Any improvement suggested or implemented based on the Project initiative may not sustain for long enough.
The above information clearly indicates how important a role of a Project Sponsor is and what impact the absence or inefficiency of a Project Sponsor may create. So it’s absolutely necessary for an Organization to define and have trained Management Sponsor executives who can play efficient roles that are important in driving a Project.