Kimberly Wiefling had an article on [email protected] (www.projectsatwork.com) giving us a taste of some hard-learned lessons when dealing with project sponsors.
I’ve always loved Kimberly’s sense of humor and highly recommend just about anything she’s written. This is a great example of education a la entertainment. Check out her book too, I own it and can highly recommend it.
In short, her exploits yield the following lessons learned with regards to project sponsors:
1. Don’t assume who has decision power. Be clear on who the real sponsor is.
2. Don’t assume your sponsor wanted this project. If their boss mandated them to sponsor the project, it’s going to be tough. In Kimberly’s example, ideas for projects were generated by executives, and the CEO made the decision of what to implement. The ideas for improving one division came from a different division, etc. That means the sponsors were put in charge of a project they didn’t come up with….can you say sabotage?
3. Don’t assume your sponsor knows what their role should be. Insist on coaching the sponsor and letting them know exactly what support the project will be asking from them.
Great article Kimberly!
About the author
Josh Nankivel is a Project Planning & Controls Control Account Manager and contractor for the ground system of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, a joint project between the USGS and NASA. His academic background includes a BS in Project Management, summa cum laude. He can be found writing and contributing in many places within the project management community, and his primary project management website is located at pmstudent.com.