I’ve been thinking about the problems sponsors might be experiencing and I’ve come up with the 8 most common…

Role of PM
Sponsors think PMs are there to deliver (so do I btw) but the majority of PMs focus on the tracking etc retrospectively and think the sponsor should be driving (this is one of my major frustrations and hot buttons)

Standard PM reporting tools provide retrospective data (stale) and sponsors don’t know the questions to ask or how to ask them to get the real picture. PM’s tend to treat sponsors the way CEO’s treat boards – just enough info to stop them asking the questions they don’t want to answer.

Project reports are awful for clarity. People can make projects green, orange or red largely at will and % complete updates never tell the real story. Tracking to budget without tracking progress is also a hole into which a lot of sponsors trip (it’s because operating budgets are measured by $ and time).

This is getting repetitive… sponsors need to be able to get an exact update at any time – they feel lost a bit stupid for asking and then they get stale info.

Confidence in the PM, the team and the organisation. They don’t have any basis on which to have confidence – unless they have a PM in play that they totally trust.

Conflicting demands
Sponsors can’t see what else their project people are working on and therefore can’t advocate clearly and with conviction for their work and priority.

High noise
Sponsors are impacted by noise, noise from their projects (most sponsors have more than one on the go), the BAU and other org stuff. They need a way to make sense of the project stuff so they can fit it into the context of the rest of their job… and priorities.

Projects have an illusion of independence. However, in reality projects must integrate before, during, at adoption, and follow up. Integration is something sponsors need skills and confidence to ask about… properly.

It’s not all bad news though. There are solutions. Next time, I’ll reveal some of the problems PMs might be having with sponsors.

Looking forward to hearing your problem solving thoughts.