Project sponsorship, achieving management commitment for project success

sponsorPMI just published the second edition of Project sponsorship, achieving management commitment for project success by Randall Englund and Alfonso Bucero. This book is, in my opinion, a thorough guide to educate stakeholders on the nature of project sponsorship. If we listen to Gartner, Standish, McKinsey and many more one of the key factors for successful projects is commitment of your sponsor. The authors give you many ingredients to make project sponsorship a success.

Dia1To download the QRC: Project sponsorship (QRC, 151112) v1.0

The book is divided in ten chapters focussing on different aspects of project sponsorship and has an extensive appendix with lots of checklists and questionnaires. Every chapter contains one or more case studies to clarify what is discussed.

The first chapter defines sponsor responsibilities, which are needed to make the project a success by creating the right environment for the project manager to be successful. In the appendix you can find several views on different roles and a set of questions regarding client-based sponsorship.

The second chapter focuses on the establishment of project sponsorship and shows what it means for different types of organizations in terms of maturity and culture. To establish effective project sponsors takes time. In the appendix you will find a sponsor influence assessment questionnaire.

The next chapter describes how to sustain sponsorship. Without a strong commitment from the sponsor to improve, the sponsor will not survive. And without the help of project managers in getting sponsors to fulfil there role as sponsors it will be difficult. The appendix gives a quality review process chart, a sponsor reviewer set of questions and an overview of characteristics of strong sponsorship.

The fourth chapter is about building and sustaining relationships between sponsor and project manager, clients and providers and the more specific the sponsor role in this relationship building.

Chapter five emphasises on business teams. Business teams are steering committees, project or programme boards. These teams are there to direct and not manage the project. For me this is the weakest chapter of the book. Directing a project and managing a project portfolio are different things and ask for different decision making bodies. In my opinion the authors don’t make the difference. Also I have my doubts if you have to add all main project stakeholders in the project board. I would say all major stakeholder interest must be safeguarded in the board but don’t make the board too big. This will have a negative impact on the speed of decision-making.

The next two chapters focus on evaluation the sponsorship culture and coaching and feedback. In the appendix you get a sponsor evaluation tool a sponsor risk assessment survey and feedback questionnaire, assessment tool and action plan.

Chapter eight is about developing sponsors by creating specific training or awareness workshops and the role of a PMO in this. In the appendix you can find a sponsorship development memo of understanding.

Chapter nine describes the benefits of sharing knowledge, the added value of mentoring and lessons learned from regular reviews.

The last chapter talks about leading the way to achieve results in a political environment. What does it mean if you have to lead with (personal) power? How will your political plan looks like if you want to achieve results? Who are your comrades, allies, adversaries and opponents? In the appendix you find a sample political plan.


This book is a must read for project sponsors. It will definitely help you to get a much better idea of the role of the project sponsor and what you can, or have to do, to make your project a success.

To order: Project Sponsorship

3 responses to “Project sponsorship, achieving management commitment for project success

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

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