Does your project sponsor need help?



By Yogi Schulz and Jocelyn Lapointe

Canada & USA

Time-challenged executives who’ve been assigned or perhaps coerced to accept the project sponsor role need help. Too often, project sponsors:

  • Do not understand their essential role.
  • Are unsure about what others expect.
  • Have little or no direct experience with the project subject and mistakenly assume that such a background is essential.
  • Are nervous that association with the project might sully their carefully nurtured reputation.
  • Are too embarrassed to ask for help.
  • Receive no guidance from their organization.

As a result, project sponsors too often retreat to cursory figureheads or ignore the role to the project’s detriment and the project manager’s annoyance.

As an experienced project manager, you recognize when a project sponsor, who must contribute to project success, has become a dangerous failure factor. To help the project sponsor fulfill their role in ensuring project success, thoughtful project managers add project sponsor coaching to their to-do list.

They coach project sponsors to improve their effectiveness in the following elements of their role.

Is accountable for project business results

The project sponsor validates the project business case. It doesn’t matter how valuable the project manager thinks the project is to the organization or what other executives believe. There is no project if the project sponsor doesn’t believe in the business case.

For example, if the business case is about slicing days or weeks out of the supply chain, the project sponsor must believe it’s achievable and valuable.

The project sponsor ensures alignment between the project’s business goal and the organization’s strategic goals. They are accountable to the CEO and other senior executives for achieving the business goal of the project. Project managers often explain the details of the business case to project sponsors.

Given this significant role, the project sponsor chairs the project steering committee.

Provides project resources

The project sponsor provides budget dollars, business staff, and facilities. Without these resources, no project can proceed and has no hope of finishing successfully. Therefore, the project sponsor must be high enough on the organization chart to allocate resources…


To read entire article, click here

How to cite this article: Schulz, Y. and Lapointe, J. (2023).  Does your project sponsor need help? PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue XI, November.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/pmwj135-Nov2023-Schulz-Lapointe-does-your-project-sponsor-need-help.pdf

About the Authors

Yogi Schulz

Calgary, Alberta, Canada


Yogi Schulz has over 40 years of Information Technology experience in various industries. Yogi works extensively in the petroleum industry to select and implement financial, production revenue accounting, land & contracts and geotechnical systems. He manages projects that arise from changes in business requirements, from the need to leverage technology opportunities and from mergers. His specialties include IT strategy, web strategy and systems project management.

Mr. Schulz regularly speaks to industry groups and writes a regular column for IT World Canada and for Engineering.com. He has written for Microsoft.com and the Calgary Herald. His writing focuses on project management and IT developments of interest to management. Mr. Schulz served as a member of the Board of Directors of the PPDM Association for twenty years until 2015. Learn more at https://www.corvelle.com/. He can be contacted at yogischulz@corvelle.com

His new book, co-authored by Jocelyn Schulz Lapointe, is “A Project Sponsor’s Warp-Speed Guide: Improving Project Performance.”


Jocelyn Lapointe

Allen, Texas, USA


Jocelyn Lapointe is a health care project manager in Texas for a large university hospital system. Jocelyn holds a Bachelor of Music (B. Mus) degree from the University of Lethbridge and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Brigham Young University.

She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

Jocelyn lives in Dallas, Texas, with her husband, Trevor, and their two children.

Her new book, co-authored by Yogi Schulz, is “A Project Sponsor’s Warp-Speed Guide: Improving Project Performance.”