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Sponsors play an important role in the success of a project. Not to be confused with stakeholders, they are responsible for allocating funds and resources to the project team as well as defining goals, making assessments, revolving issues, implementing direction changes and advocating the project to upper-level management. Because of their vast range of duties, it’s important for projects to have the right sponsors. So, what makes a great project sponsor?

Provide Clear, Easy-to-Follow Directions

A project sponsor will spend a significant amount of time communicating with team members; therefore, he or she needs to provide, easy-to-follow directions. As explained by Diego Nei of the nonprofit CEACRE, this is a key responsibility of a project sponsor. If the sponsor can’t communicate directions in a transparent manner, team members won’t know how to accomplish their respective tasks according to plan.


Of course, a project sponsor should also be available, meaning the project manager and team members should be able to easily reach him or her. When a problem arises, they’ll seek the assistance of the project sponsor. But if the sponsor isn’t available – or doesn’t respond in a timely manner – it can reflect poorly upon the project, resulting in missed deadlines, unachieved goals, poor productivity, etc.

Team Building

Delegating the tasks to skilled team members is critical in project management. No two people have the exact same skillset, so each member must be given tasks based on his or her skills and experience. The project sponsor should work to build the team by matching members with tasks.

Resource Allocation

Next, the project sponsor should have a good understanding of the resources available for the project so they can allocate funds appropriately. If a significant amount of resources is spent on one tasks, the project manager and team may lack the necessary resources to complete a second task. A great project manager can prevent this from happening by properly allocating resources while staying within the project’s budget.

Coaching and Motivation

Finally, the project sponsor should provide coaching and motivation to the project manager. When the manager feels overwhelmed with work and doesn’t know what step to take next, he or she may seek advice from the sponsor.

A project sponsor doesn’t perform day-to-day operations associated with the project; that’s the job of the project manager. Instead, they provide fundamental assistance in helping the project manager and team members accomplish their goals.

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