Book review: Successful project sponsorship

9780749474249-240x300Michiel van der Molen sent me his new book ‘Successful Project Sponsorship. A time-saver for the busy executive’. Finally I would say. I used to give his Dutch book as background information to participants of my workshops about directing projects or project sponsorship. But when it was a non-Dutch speaking group I had to say: ‘at this moment there is no corresponding English book’.

Now the book is there, I can say it was worthwhile to wait. The result is, as I would expect from Michiel, a great book, easy to read and really practical.

Being involved (reviewing, advising) with several versions of his Dutch book about sponsorship (it’s now the fifth version) I can see the evolution of the book. The first versions were focusing on PRINCE2 for executives, the fifth version was more generic but uses the terminology of PRINCE2 and ISO21500 and this English version was rewritten using the PMBoK terminology but keeping the good things of PRINCE2 like the business case, senior user and senior supplier roles, management stages, tolerances, management by exception etc. This doesn’t mean the book is only useful for PMBoK users. On the contrary, this book is suitable for all involved in directing projects, independently of the project management method being used.

This book is divided into three parts and a set of appendices. The first part covers the four principles of successful project sponsorship and the second part goes into some details and gives advice in the areas of the roles within the steering committee, how to direct a project manager, how to realize benefits, achieving quality, uncertainties and some more. On many places you will get tips for agile projects and tips for the PRINCE2 environment. These two parts forms the heart of the book and are in line with the fifth version of the corresponding Dutch book.

The four principles are key if you want to be a successful sponsor of a project. In the attached figure (download: 4 principles) you see the four principles for successful ownership, what they provide, offer or contribute to and some advises. Two principles are business related and two project related.

  1. Share the business case
  2. Organize ownership
  3. Focus on deliverables
  4. Empower the project manager


The third part of this book: ‘Advancing project sponsorship in organizations’ as well as the appendices are completely new in relation to the Dutch fifth version. The third part will help you to introduce, embed and improve project sponsorship in your own organization. Why is it so difficult, what challenges do you have to overcome? What approach can you use and what type of training courses and workshops can you develop/offer in project sponsorship advancement programmes.

In the appendices you get overviews from PMBoK, PRINCE2 and Agile and an overview of the main responsibilities and accountabilities related to the direction of projects and divided across the project manager, senior supplier, senior user and project sponsor.

Conclusion: If you are looking for a practical English book on project sponsorship this is a must have. I am going to use this book in my workshops for project board members and sponsors.

If I look at the draft ISO21505 standard on Project, Programme and Portfolio Management – Guidance on Governance, I get an overview of the responsibilities of the project governance body and as far as I can see this book is in line with this draft standard.

To order Michiel’s book: Successful project sponsorship

3 responses to “Book review: Successful project sponsorship

  1. Pingback: New PM Articles for the Week of September 7 – 13 - The Practicing IT Project Manager

  2. Pingback: Book reviews in 2015 | Henny Portman's Blog

  3. Pingback: Review: The Effective Project board. Keeping projects and programmes on target | Henny Portman's Blog

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