Executive sponsor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Executive sponsor (sometimes called project sponsor or senior responsible owner) is a role in project management, usually the senior member of the project board and often the chair. The project sponsor will be a senior executive in a corporation (often at or just below board level) who is responsible to the business for the success of the project.

The sponsor has a number of interfaces and responsibilities for the project.

The responsibilities for which the sponsor is accountable to the board are:

  • Provides leadership on culture and values
  • Owns the business case
  • Keeps project aligned with organization's strategy and portfolio direction
  • Governs project risk
  • Works with other sponsors
  • Focuses on realization of benefits
  • Recommends opportunities to optimize cost/benefits
  • Ensures continuity of sponsorship
  • Provides assurance
  • Provides feedback and lessons learned

The governance activities that take place between the sponsor and the project manager are:

  • Provides timely decisions
  • Clarifies decision-making framework
  • Clarifies business priorities and strategy
  • Communicates business issues
  • Provides resources
  • Engenders trust
  • Manages relationships
  • Supports the project manager's role
  • Promotes ethical working

In addition to these activities the following activities take place between the sponsor and other Project stakeholders:

  • Engages stakeholders
  • Governs stakeholder communications
  • Directs client relationships
  • Directs governance of users
  • Directs governance of suppliers
  • Arbitrates between stakeholders

Due to the problem-solving needs of the role, the executive sponsor often needs to be able to exert pressure within the organization to overcome resistance to the project. For this reason a successful executive sponsor will ideally be a person with five personal attributes - understanding, competence, credibility, commitment and engagement.[1]

A few research studies have been published that not only detail the role of this individual within project management but also provide a way to ensure that the success of a project is increased if this individual plays a more active role.

See also[edit]

Project sponsorship


  1. ^ Sponsoring Change: A guide to the governance aspects of project sponsorship, Association for Project Management, 2009. ISBN 978-1-903494-30-1