The role of top management and project sponsors is absolutely vital for the success of any project. The project manager must ensure their active involvement in every stage of the project so that they can add real value to the project and seriously contribute for its success. Especially in all sorts of decision making process, their involvement in a proper and timely manner must be ascertained.
Before starting any project, the job of project planning, scheduling and project costing must be done in an efficient manner. The project manager must sit together with the top management and project sponsors in order to get their suggestions and recommendations so that the whole planning process becomes successful. Specifically in budgeting and scheduling, their opinions must be given proper value. Otherwise, in case of necessity, they will not come forward to assist the project manager so that he/she can get out any disastrous situation that will lead the project towards ultimate failure.
Again, the project sponsors should comprehend the full scope of the project, both from technical and business point of view. The sponsors must be knowledgeable about the progress and obstacles of the project timely and regularly so that they can act effectively whenever necessary. They must render their helping hand to the project manager which may boost his/her confidence and this will make him/her capable of contributing significantly for the success of the project.
The top management or project sponsors can assist the project manager in many different ways. For example, they can make sure about the availability of necessary resources in a proper and timely manner. In certain cases when the budget is running down, they can ensure the availability of necessary funds for the smooth progress of the project. Whenever the project manager feels that the complete project will not be finished within the deadline set previously, he/she can start discussing with the top management or project sponsors and try to make them convinced about the necessity of increasing the deadline. Their participation and overall support is really crucial to make the project a successful one.
The business owners or project sponsors must be proactive and always make sure about backing the project manager’s decision even publicly. This will establish the authority of the project manager regarding the issues like making decisions about hiring appropriate staff. This sort of authority is absolutely vital to maintain discipline between the team members. All should keep in mind that it is the project manager who is ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the project, so his/her authority must be properly established in the project.
Risks are common in every project. The success of any project totally depends on how efficiently these risks are handled. Proper risk management always requires top management support. They must acknowledge the reality of these risks properly and must assist the project manager so that he/she can make effective steps to minimize the effects of these risks on the project.
In some cases, it is also seen that the top management or business owners, sometimes even the project sponsors poke their nose in every single matter which ultimately hampers the smooth progress of the project. The project manager must come forward in this regard and sincerely try to convince them so that they can rely totally on him/her for the success of the project. The project manager will have to take their ideas and suggestions, but must limit their involvement in project activities.
In my project management career, I always tried my best to ensure the total participation of the top management and project sponsors in major decision-making processes, which always ensured my confidence regarding running the project activities in a successful manner. Whenever I felt necessary, I always consulted with them and informed them about any serious issue, and their suggestion and ideas always helped me to proceed in a confident manner. I always believed that the proper communication with them and their participation would make me free of tension.
Hence, it can be concluded by stating that the project manager must make all sorts of major decisions regarding a project after informing the top management and project sponsors in an appropriate manner. It is only the active participation of business owners and project sponsors that can guarantee a project’s success. That is why, the project manager must give proper heed in this regard and try his/her level best to involve them in the project.