The Project Sponsor

Both the project sponsor and the project manager have significant influence on the outcome of the project. As described in the PMBOK, a project sponsor is the person or group who provides resources and support for the project, and is accountable for enabling success. Project sponsorship is the vital link between the project management team and the executive management. An effective sponsor communicates on behalf of the project, particularly with other stakeholders in senior management, acts as an advocate for the project, and gains commitment from key stakeholders.

The project sponsor plays a substantial role in the development of the initial project scope and project charter, and also involves in important and critical issues, such as authorizing changes in scope, schedule extension, budget arrangement, project progress reviews, and go/no-go decisions against high risks of project failure. When dealing with strategic decisions that are beyond the designated authority of the project manager, such as risks of project failure and conflicting objectives, the sponsor ensures those issues escalated from the project are solved effectively at the organizational level.

While the project manager is responsible for managing the day-to-day running of the project, the project sponsor helps the project manager facilitate the necessary organizational support and arrange resources needed to make strategic decisions and create a successful project. An effective sponsor "owns" the project on behalf of the organization. It's important to flag the lack of effective sponsorship as a key risk to the project.