Team AsanaJune 6th, 2022•5 min read
Project sponsors are typically senior executives. Oftentimes, they’re just below board level and are involved in multiple projects at once. A project sponsor has three main responsibilities:
When we break down these categories further, you can see the different responsibilities a project sponsor holds:
The project sponsor is involved in a project from start to finish which means that they have a variety of tasks, responsibilities, and duties through the project lifecycle. Both the project manager and sponsor should be aware of the responsibilities the sponsor holds so everyone stays within their lines and delivers what’s asked of them.
These duties can vary based on the intensity and complexity of the project at hand but regardless, the involvement and importance of a project sponsor should not be underestimated.
While the two terms sound very similar, project sponsors and stakeholders hold two very different roles.
A project stakeholder can be anyone who is affected by the project—from members of the project team to people who aren’t actively involved in the project’s process. Stakeholders can be investors, peers, customers, or superiors.
A project sponsor on the other hand is generally not only part of the organization but also accountable for the project. They are responsible for the overall success of the project, and they typically define and ensure the project’s success. Depending on the project, a sponsor will also frequently act as a mentor to the project manager.Create a stakeholder register template
Both the project sponsor and project manager are highly involved in the project and responsible for the outcome and success. The project sponsor is the point of connection between the organization’s executive team and the project manager; the project manager is the point of connection between the project sponsor and the project team.
The role of the project manager is to organize, track, and ultimately lead their team to execute work within a project. A project manager is the day-to-day team leader—they are responsible for monitoring resources and workload, overseeing task completion, and updating stakeholders on the project progress. If necessary, the project manager can request additional support from the project sponsor. Their role is to also keep an eye on the goals and expectations to alert the project sponsor when there’s a misalignment between the schedule and the estimated dates.
The relationship between the project sponsor and the project manager can determine the outcome of the project. Clearly set expectations, frequent communication, and mutual trust are necessary to ensure a successful project.
Transparency helps to expedite trust. When you let your team know what is happening and what you are thinking you are simultaneously building credibility in your relationships. When you then ask what they think and incorporate those thoughts into your plans, you are building a shared sense of purpose.”
—Brian Boroff, Former Customer Operations Lead at Asana
Depending on the complexity of the project and the experience of the project manager, the project sponsor can choose a more hands-off approach or decide to be more involved and supportive, guiding the project manager and team through the individual steps and tasks of the project. Ideally, the project sponsor acts as a mentor to the project manager.
Collaborate in real time for project success
Project managers and project sponsors rely on each other to successfully execute projects. To help both parties keep track of their responsibilities, tasks, and goals, reliable collaboration software is key. Asana is a work management tool designed to help teams manage work and hit their goals. With Asana, you can keep each other updated in real time and never let anything slip through the cracks.Improve team collaboration with Asana