A few weeks ago, PMO Learning’s Eileen Roden delivered a session for PMO Flashmob about the role the PMO should be providing to support project sponsors in delivery organisations.
The session is available to watch over on the PMO Flashmob website.
It started with a simple observation – the PMO actively supports programme and project managers – but why don’t we do the same for sponsors?
The role of the sponsor and the accountabilities expected has often been a weak link in the chain of successful project delivery. Some of it down to the fact that sponsors are senior members of the organisation and should just be expected to know what needs to happen, some of it down to fear of losing face when sponsors really could do with reaching out for help.
If the PMO’s main objective is to support the organisation to help deliver projects more successfully – that support should extend to, what is arguably a really important cog in the whole project operation, the sponsors.
With any PMO wanting to improve on the services it delivers, increasing the perceived value of what it does to all within the project organisation then being a great partner to sponsors will help give PMOs the visibility they need.
In the PMO Flashmob session, it became apparent that the work and support the PMO can provide is a blend of the art, science and the behavioural. Yes, there are processes, governance structures and reports which cover the science, there is the human interaction of building and maintaining working relations with senior managers and then there’s the wrapping that only the PMO can provide – with its unique view of what is happening in and around the project, the collective experience – the art.
In true PMO style, a checklist or crib sheet is always a good way to work with others that need help. Below is the Sponsor Commitment – a series of questions that can be used to evaluate sponsors (click to download the PDF version)
The PMO can produce a number of different aids to not only help the sponsor understand their role and practical help to carry it out – they can also think wider and provide support in how sponsors are allocated to projects, the Sponsor Commitment being an example.
What becomes apparent quite quickly is the PMO has very limited services aimed at the sponsor – and to a certain extent, very little understanding of how to help and how to approach it.
The new course from PMO Learning – Project Sponsorship and the PMO – is the ideal first step if you are looking to introduce new services – or optimise existing ones to include sponsor support.
If your PMO is looking to increase its visibility and wider organisation support, working closely with the sponsor can do you no harm at all.
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Further Reading on Sponsors