Why The Project Manager Should Never Double As The Project Sponsor

If you are a project manager, never take on project without someone else being the sponsor. Never volunteer to fill the role, if a sponsor does not exist for a project. That project should probably be cancelled.

The problem with being both the PM and the Sponsor is that there are no checks and balances on your powers and decisions. There is nobody to hold you accountable for meeting commitments or going beyond your authority. And because your roles have no limits, constrains, or boundaries, you are susceptible to making judgment errors that could be avoided if you have clarity of role and responsibilities.

At the end of day, anyone can find fault with your decisions no matter how good they are. Basically, you are more likely to lose even when you win.

A project needs a sponsor who makes decisions on requirements and scope, among other decisions that determine the final outcome of the project. It is critically important that you, as the project manager, stay detached from the outcome of your projects. You are there to facilitate decision making and problem solving. But you should have no direct stake in the outcome of the project.

This way, people are not conflicted about what your role is and you stay neutral and objective making sure everyone’s interests are represented.

Once you throw your hat in the ring and start advocating a direction one way or the other, people who disagree with you can use your positions and actions as an excuse to accuse you of pushing your own agenda, even when you are not. They will paint you as unfair and biased and your credibility can become forever undermined. Trust in your role as a project manager will be compromised.

What do you think? Have you seen instances where the project manager managed to successfully double as the project sponsor?

Be sure to leave your email here so I notify you when the next article in this series is posted.

3 Responses to Why The Project Manager Should Never Double As The Project Sponsor
  1. Mark Moore
    April 29, 2013 | 11:13 am

    Even in the smallest of organizations it will create more conflict than it will provide benefits. I’ve been the PM, the analyst, the ‘builder’, and the QA as the same person before (1-man shop) but my boss was always the sponsor.

    Just as the PM is supposed to be a shield for the team, the Project Sponsor needs to be a resource for the PM that can act as a trusted adviser and provide some protection and cover if necessary.

    I’ve not seen it done successfully … I’d be interested to hear if anyone else has.

    • samad_aidane
      April 29, 2013 | 11:20 am

      Mark, Thank you for the insight. Absolutlely, the project sponsor needs to be someone else who help the PM and provide air cover. Like you, I am yet to see a successful situation where one person is both PM and sponsor. Thank you for taking the time to contribute.

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://www.guerrillaprojectmanagement.com/why-project-manager-should-never-double-as-project-sponsor/trackback

Why The Project Manager Should Never Double As The Project Sponsor

If you are a project manager, never take on project without someone else being the sponsor. Never volunteer to fill the role, if a sponsor does not exist for a project. That project should probably be cancelled.

The problem with being both the PM and the Sponsor is that there are no checks and balances on your powers and decisions. There is nobody to hold you accountable for meeting commitments or going beyond your authority. And because your roles have no limits, constrains, or boundaries, you are susceptible to making judgment errors that could be avoided if you have clarity of role and responsibilities.

At the end of day, anyone can find fault with your decisions no matter how good they are. Basically, you are more likely to lose even when you win.

A project needs a sponsor who makes decisions on requirements and scope, among other decisions that determine the final outcome of the project. It is critically important that you, as the project manager, stay detached from the outcome of your projects. You are there to facilitate decision making and problem solving. But you should have no direct stake in the outcome of the project.

This way, people are not conflicted about what your role is and you stay neutral and objective making sure everyone’s interests are represented.

Once you throw your hat in the ring and start advocating a direction one way or the other, people who disagree with you can use your positions and actions as an excuse to accuse you of pushing your own agenda, even when you are not. They will paint you as unfair and biased and your credibility can become forever undermined. Trust in your role as a project manager will be compromised.

What do you think? Have you seen instances where the project manager managed to successfully double as the project sponsor?

Be sure to leave your email here so I notify you when the next article in this series is posted.

3 Responses to Why The Project Manager Should Never Double As The Project Sponsor
  1. Mark Moore
    April 29, 2013 | 11:13 am

    Even in the smallest of organizations it will create more conflict than it will provide benefits. I’ve been the PM, the analyst, the ‘builder’, and the QA as the same person before (1-man shop) but my boss was always the sponsor.

    Just as the PM is supposed to be a shield for the team, the Project Sponsor needs to be a resource for the PM that can act as a trusted adviser and provide some protection and cover if necessary.

    I’ve not seen it done successfully … I’d be interested to hear if anyone else has.

    • samad_aidane
      April 29, 2013 | 11:20 am

      Mark, Thank you for the insight. Absolutlely, the project sponsor needs to be someone else who help the PM and provide air cover. Like you, I am yet to see a successful situation where one person is both PM and sponsor. Thank you for taking the time to contribute.

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://www.guerrillaprojectmanagement.com/why-project-manager-should-never-double-as-project-sponsor/trackback

Why The Project Manager Should Never Double As The Project Sponsor

If you are a project manager, never take on project without someone else being the sponsor. Never volunteer to fill the role, if a sponsor does not exist for a project. That project should probably be cancelled.

The problem with being both the PM and the Sponsor is that there are no checks and balances on your powers and decisions. There is nobody to hold you accountable for meeting commitments or going beyond your authority. And because your roles have no limits, constrains, or boundaries, you are susceptible to making judgment errors that could be avoided if you have clarity of role and responsibilities.

At the end of day, anyone can find fault with your decisions no matter how good they are. Basically, you are more likely to lose even when you win.

A project needs a sponsor who makes decisions on requirements and scope, among other decisions that determine the final outcome of the project. It is critically important that you, as the project manager, stay detached from the outcome of your projects. You are there to facilitate decision making and problem solving. But you should have no direct stake in the outcome of the project.

This way, people are not conflicted about what your role is and you stay neutral and objective making sure everyone’s interests are represented.

Once you throw your hat in the ring and start advocating a direction one way or the other, people who disagree with you can use your positions and actions as an excuse to accuse you of pushing your own agenda, even when you are not. They will paint you as unfair and biased and your credibility can become forever undermined. Trust in your role as a project manager will be compromised.

What do you think? Have you seen instances where the project manager managed to successfully double as the project sponsor?

Be sure to leave your email here so I notify you when the next article in this series is posted.

3 Responses to Why The Project Manager Should Never Double As The Project Sponsor
  1. Mark Moore
    April 29, 2013 | 11:13 am

    Even in the smallest of organizations it will create more conflict than it will provide benefits. I’ve been the PM, the analyst, the ‘builder’, and the QA as the same person before (1-man shop) but my boss was always the sponsor.

    Just as the PM is supposed to be a shield for the team, the Project Sponsor needs to be a resource for the PM that can act as a trusted adviser and provide some protection and cover if necessary.

    I’ve not seen it done successfully … I’d be interested to hear if anyone else has.

    • samad_aidane
      April 29, 2013 | 11:20 am

      Mark, Thank you for the insight. Absolutlely, the project sponsor needs to be someone else who help the PM and provide air cover. Like you, I am yet to see a successful situation where one person is both PM and sponsor. Thank you for taking the time to contribute.

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://www.guerrillaprojectmanagement.com/why-project-manager-should-never-double-as-project-sponsor/trackback