Having active project sponsors is absolutely critical to a project’s success. Visibility to top management and active stakeholder support will encourage buy-in and enable the organization to maximize the project’s value to the business. Stakeholders who actively champion the strategic value of projects and regularly communicate the intended benefits to their teams help to establish the project as critical to support a business strategy. Teams under these executives will align themselves with the business strategy and support project efforts more quickly and with greater enthusiasm.
A project manager is not a stakeholder or sponsor. The project manager’s role is to ensure the stakeholder and sponsor are informed. However, the project manager should report regular status and bring visibility to any key risks or issues that need executive input.
In retail, there is an old saying, “To be successful, you need to have the right product, at the right time, at the right price.” For a project manager, a similar saying can be said. The project manager needs to bring the right information at the right time to ensure the executives have everything they need to make informed decisions. It is critical that organizations realize that just because a project manager is assigned to a project doesn’t mean that a project will be successful. There must be a direct channel of communication between the project manager and the stakeholders and sponsors. It is a collaborative effort as all three play an important role.