Project sponsor

The Project Sponsor/Project Director is responsible for:

  • Ensuring an appropriate project or programme management framework is in place, incorporating the Gateway review process if required.
  • Preparing the project brief, Project Initiation Document (or equivalent) and business case
  • Appraising options and submitting for approval
  • Securing resources and expertise from the client organisation as required, for example, appointing professional advisers to support the project sponsor role
  • Co-ordinating and directing end user input
  • Co-ordinating value management strategy
  • Controlling changes following approval
  • Determining and managing risks to the project
  • Managing the project budget, including risk allowance
  • Acting as sole point of contact with project manager
  • Co-ordinating and fostering teamwork
  • Managing the project manager's performance of delegated responsibility
  • Establishing formal reporting arrangements on project progress
  • Defining criteria for control and management of the project
  • Assisting the project manager in the resolution of problems
  • Receiving and reviewing detailed reports on the project from the project manager
  • Ensuring the project manager receives departmental decisions on time
  • Establishing with the project manager a common approach to major issues that arise
  • Establishing a mechanism to ensure regular dialogue with contractors to promote problem solving, teamworking and risk-sharing

Purpose:.

The Project Sponsor/Project Director provides the interface between project ownership and delivery - The Project Sponsor/Project Director is the client side representative who acts as a single focal point of contact with the project manager for the day-to-day management of the interests of the client organisation. The Project Sponsor is responsible for ongoing management on behalf of the project owner to ensure that the desired project objectives are delivered. The person in this role must have adequate knowledge and information about the business and the project to be able to make informed decisions. They may be known as the Project Sponsor; sometimes referred to as the Project Director.

For smaller/straightforward projects the roles of Project Sponsor/Project Director and Project Manager may be combined, subject to the proviso that the person taking on the combined responsibilities possesses the requisite competencies, expertise, experience and has the available time and resources. Where roles are combined, it is essential that delegations and responsibilities are clearly understood and do not overlap with other roles. This role description assumes that the roles of Project Sponsor/Project Director and Project Manager are separate.

 

Specific responsibilities

The Project Sponsor/Project Director is responsible for:

  • Ensuring an appropriate project or programme management framework is in place, incorporating the Gateway review process if required.
  • Preparing the project brief, Project Initiation Document (or equivalent) and business case
  • Appraising options and submitting for approval
  • Securing resources and expertise from the client organisation as required, for example, appointing professional advisers to support the project sponsor role
  • Co-ordinating and directing end user input
  • Co-ordinating value management strategy
  • Controlling changes following approval
  • Determining and managing risks to the project
  • Managing the project budget, including risk allowance
  • Acting as sole point of contact with project manager
  • Co-ordinating and fostering teamwork
  • Managing the project manager's performance of delegated responsibility
  • Establishing formal reporting arrangements on project progress
  • Defining criteria for control and management of the project
  • Assisting the project manager in the resolution of problems
  • Receiving and reviewing detailed reports on the project from the project manager
  • Ensuring the project manager receives departmental decisions on time
  • Establishing with the project manager a common approach to major issues that arise
  • Establishing a mechanism to ensure regular dialogue with contractors to promote problem solving, teamworking and risk-sharing

 

 

Skills and attributes

The Project Sponsor/Project Director should be able to:

  • Apply quality management principles and processes
  • Apply risk assessment and management principles and processes
  • Network effectively, negotiate well and influence people, broker relationships with stakeholders within and outside the project
  • Be aware of the broader perspective and how it affects the project.

Notes

As noted above, the roles of Project Sponsor/Project Director and Project Manager may be combined, especially for smaller projects. Alternatively, the roles of SRO/Project Owner and Project Sponsor/Project Director may be carried out by the same individual. However, it is important to ensure that no single individual carries out all three roles of SRO/PO, Project Sponsor/Project Director and Project Manager. As with the combination of any roles, the principle of clear allocations applies: delegations and responsibilities must be clearly understood and do not overlap with other roles.

Further information

See the briefing on project management; for construction projects see also Achieving Excellence briefings 1 and 3 for the project sponsor requirements relating to construction projects.

Training and consultancy support is available for project sponsors.