Ten Secrets to Being a Good Sponsor

(This post contains affiliate hyperlinks. Please read my full disclosure.
What does it take to be a great sponsor for a project? The role of the project sponsor is varied. It is more than a role of a project sponsor. It is a role that sets direction and makes decisions.
If you are a sponsor or want to make sure that your sponsor is upholding their responsibilities, I have something that can help.
Below are 10 tips to help you be a good sponsor. These tips were taken from Strategies for Project Sponsorship by James Taylor and Rosenhead. Appendix D contains a list with 50 secrets. This is a summary from The Standish Group’s Chaos Manifesto 2012, The Year of Executive Sponsor. Although it may seem like a long time ago they are still relevant today.
Find the right project resources
Make quick decisions
Learn project management techniques
Know when to turn off the power
Recognize your achievements
Manage financial changes
Overcome your ignorance
Set goals
Communicate the facts
Learn to understand risk and reward
These are the headlines. Below is my interpretation of these headlines for projects today.
1. Find the right project resources
As a project sponsor, your role is to ensure that the project runs smoothly and effectively. You can use money, equipment, people (or any other resources necessary to complete the task).
Ask your project manager about the resources required. Be prepared to challenge them (project managers are known to exaggerate what is needed to ensure they have enough resources for the project).
Next, negotiate with other senior leaders in order to give the project the resources it needs to achieve its goals.
Be sure to include all relevant resources in your project plan Make quick decisions
Project teams can be expensive so it is not a good idea to have them around while you make your decision.
Get all the information you need to make a decision. Then, make it and then tell others what you have decided. You might not like their decision, but they are the boss and will abide by it. Be able to explain why you made the decision you did.
Are you unsure how to make the final decision? Learn my guide to decision-making.
Don’t rush to make a decision without knowing all the facts. Otherwise, you could end up leading the project down the wrong track.
3. Learn project management techniques
This is the job for the project manager. However, you don’t want them to confuse you with jargon. It is important to understand how your work is being done and why the team is doing it.
The PMI Kickoff course is worth a half an hour. It is easy to follow and will teach you the basics of project management. It’s also free.
They’re doing their best and will probably get you a great outcome if they follow a set of guidelines.
However, you shouldn’t make them do things differently. You can challenge the “how” behind the work management, but you must be open to hearing the results. I mentor project managers who tell me they must be agile, even if agile methods are not the best to deliver the type of change they have been asked.
4. Know when to turn off the power
It may be your favorite project, but if it is overbudget, late, or fails to deliver the business benefits, it is time for you to part ways.
It is foolish to throw good money after a wasteful effort just for the sake of saving face. Be prepared for any possible conflict and have your project cancelled.
Next, get your team to work on something that will truly revolutionize the company.
5. Recognize your achievements
Everyone loves a party. You don’t have need to be extravagant, but you should reward your project team for their hard work. They will be more productive and will appreciate you.