How to Manage a Project



These are a set of questions that people have asked, mainly about applying the project management approach to their normal work situation. We have tried to give what we feel are "best practice" answers but cannot pretend that the answers are definitive.

Do all projects need a project sponsor?

In our experience, invariably yes.

If there is no sponsor, then the Project Manager is acting as Project Director and in fact carrying out both roles. No one would set up a section without it reporting to someone in the organisation - so why set up a project on that basis.

The key point for us is that projects are more likely to be successful if someone or some group is acting as project sponsor. They can give political support to the project manager, ensure that the project links with others in the organisation and with the current corporate objectives, and generally help the project manager to overcome roadblocks.

One common and very natural approach is best illustrated by an example.

The organisation was restructuring its production facilities. A member of the management team undertook a project to look at the feasibility of moving certain production from one site to another. He carried out the first stage of looking at the feasibility and developing a proposal to present to the Board. In this he was acting as project manager for the Proposal Stage.

When the proposal was agree, he appointed a project manager to implement the proposal, whilst he himself became Project Sponsor.