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Project sponsorship is an important part of initiating and completing a project within an organization. The role of a project sponsor varies, because they might work to create accountability, define a project's mission, allocate or find resources, deal with financing and manage other aspects of the project through completion. A project sponsor has the ability and authority to initiate the project and help it succeed, and this person can often be found in the upper levels of management within an organization.
Strategic management is an important aspect of project sponsorship. The project sponsor has the responsibility to ensure that the project is helping the organization meet its goals. This includes being an advocate for the project as well as creating direction. Selling and persuading others on the project's viability is important in getting it started. If the project needs to adjust to fit in with the organization's objectives, the project sponsor helps make sure that this happens. Being politically cognizant is useful in this area, because project sponsors understand how to work with others to get things done and meet organizational goals.
Another important part of project sponsorship is the idea of accountability. Project sponsors create a time line, keep managers on track, set up meetings to ensure that progress is occurring and hold those under them accountable for their actions through disciplinary measures, if necessary. This also means that a project sponsor has to be readily available to those working on the project in case something arises that needs to be handled.
Allocating or finding project resources also falls under the responsibility of the project sponsor. Resources might include people, places and things, depending on the nature of the project. Financial resources also are important, and one role of the project sponsor is to provide or locate financing for the project, though project sponsors do not always come up with the funds on their own. Creating and monitoring the budget is a big part of project sponsorship after financing has been put in place.
Managing the project through completion means dealing with anything and everything that might occur to delay the project. Project sponsors handle organizational politics that might be getting in the way and delegate work to those under them, including project managers and team leaders. Successful project sponsorship involves a great deal of communication between the organization, the project manager and outside sources.