Book review: Executive sponsor research report

product_thumbnail.phpThe book ‘Executive sponsor research report’ from The Standish Group describes 50 skills or competences to be a successful project sponsor. Based on Standish’s data we see that 61% of successful projects have at least a highly skilled project sponsor, and that 70% of failed projects are managed by an organisation with a moderate to poorly skilled executive sponsor.

The Standish’s list of factors of success (2013) show executive sponsorship as the number one factor:

  • Executive management support
  • User involvement
  • Clear business objectives
  • Emotional maturity
  • Optimization
  • Agile process
  • Project management expertise
  • Skilled resources
  • Execution
  • Tools and infra structure

Executive sponsor personalities can be explained by the following types: deadbeat head (poor), drifter (moderate), captain (good), nitpicker (moderate) and mother hen (poor).

The rest of the book gives an overview of 50 skills. Each skill (skill 4 missing), one page, contains the definition of the skill and an explanation including examples.

50 skills are a lot. What I miss is some structure around these 50, maybe some clustering in categories.

To give it a try, I used the new IPMA Individual Competence Baseline ICB4 to align these 50 skills to the ICB4 competences.

Dia1Of course you could argue if I made the right choices but the overview shows that the 50 skills can be clustered using the ICB4 elements perspective, people and practice. It also shows that some skills can be combined. E.g.  skill 16: Making quick decisions and skill 46: Quick decisions or skill 37: Similar projects and skill 49: Past projects or skill 9: Outstanding effort rewards, skill 33: Celebrate accomplishments and skill 50: Celebrating party.

Looking from the other side you could ask why the ICB4 is not paying attention to this celebration part. It could also be interesting to see why ICB4 competences like People 7: Conflict and crisis, Perspective 5: Culture and values and Practices 9: Procurement and partnership, 12: Stakeholders, 13: Change and transformation are not part of the Executive Sponsor skills? But maybe they are embedded in one or more of the other skills.


If you are discussing or want to understand executive sponsor skills and competences this is definitely a book to use.

To order: Executive sponsor research report

4 responses to “Book review: Executive sponsor research report

  1. Pingback: New PM Articles for the Week of January 18 – 24 - The Practicing IT Project Manager

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

  3. Pingback: Book review: The Good Sponsor | Henny Portman's Blog

  4. Pingback: Overview of my year 2016 book reviews | Henny Portman's Blog

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