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The Executive’s Role in Project Management

The executive’s role in project management is as the project sponsor. The project sponsor is a leader, or a group of leaders, who provide the resources and support for a project they launch. The sponsor should ensure a vision for the project and share that vision with the project team. The sponsor should ensure that the project has the budget necessary to be successful. And, the sponsor helps by clearing any barriers that may arise so that the project team can be successful.

As should be apparent, the project sponsor role is an active one and should be held by a senior leader in the association. This is the individual responsible for identifying the business need, problem or opportunity that the project will address. Once this has been proven (the business case accepted,) this individual remains responsible for ensuring the continued viability of the initiative through use of go/no criteria. In a nutshell, go/no criteria enables for reviewing key areas of the project as it progresses and thereby stopping the project at some point before significant money is invested. Areas to be examined may include, but are not limited to:

Problem or opportunity statement
  • Has the problem or opportunity been stated clearly?
  • Is it clear who the requestor is?
  • Have you clearly stated how the expected benefits will be achieved?


Project goal and objectives

  • Have you clearly stated the desired end result of the project?
  • Is the goal statement specific and measurable?
  • Is the goal realistic and manageable?
  • Are the objectives necessary, stated clearly, and measurable?


Risks and assumptions

  • Have the major risks and assumptions been reviewed?
  • Are the major risks and assumptions and any contingency plans realistic?
  • Do the stated risks and assumptions allow stakeholders to assess benefits and costs associated with the project?

A strong project sponsor plays the role of mentor, catalyst, motivator, barrier remover and boundary manager. Being a project sponsor requires understanding and supporting the project, the ability to influence within the association, and being able to make decisions for the good of the project.

Want to learn more about how to be an effective project sponsor? Contact Abudi Consulting Group to learn how we have coached executives in effective project sponsorship.

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