project sponsorship

Podcast: Project Sponsorship

Podcast: Project Sponsorship

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Let’s talk about project sponsorship


In this podcast, Elise Stevens speaks with Payson Hall, a consulting project manager for Catalysis Group, Inc. in Sacramento, California about project sponsorship.

Payson believes the goal of project management is to help organisations get projects done – but also to support effective organisation decision-making. He understands project managers aren’t miracle workers who should ensure every single project is completed, but instead that they have a responsibility to maintain an open communication with the executive about how the project is proceeding and when it’s no longer viable.

For Payson, this communication starts with the Cheeseburger Talk – where project managers can begin to build a relationship with their project sponsor and ask some of the crucial questions. You can read more about the Cheeseburger Talk here.

Payson began his career in software development and systems integration where he developed an interest in project management. Over the past 30 years he has worked as a project manager, coach to project managers, and project oversight consultant. For more than 20 of those years he’s been teaching project management and risk management.

Points raised in this podcast:

  • Project managers can often be fearful of project sponsors, rather than the relationship feeling like a partnership.
  • The project manager’s job is not to successfully deliver every project, but to negotiate with the executive team about how the project is developing and whether or not the project should continue.
  • It is important not to confuse the project sponsor with the client.
  • Project sponsors are more aware of the full relationship with the client, and the strategic goals of the organisation, than project managers, who are focused exclusively on a single project.
  • Project managers who have the trust of their sponsors are more likely to get information about what’s truly going on within their organisation.
  • Project managers often have to coach their sponsors to ensure they’re aware of their role.
  • A one-on-one lunch or coffee break between project manager and project sponsor can help build trust and break down barriers.
  • Project managers who then continue to invest in their relationship with their project sponsor, will get more out of it.
  • A good sponsor will share authority, help solve problems, negotiate changes to cost, schedule or scope, offer guidance and ideas, provide information about the organisation. For them to do so, good communication is crucial.

You can connect with Payson Hall on LinkedIn or check out his new book Improving Executive Project Sponsorship.

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