Jun 3, 2013

How sponsors can make projects succeed?

The sponsor who initiates the project or program plays a key role in any initiative.

  •  The sponsor typically is part of the leadership team, and has the ability to influence and sign off.
  •   The sponsor must communicate, encourage and reinforce commitment throughout the team to ensure project success.

There are a variety of messages that sponsors can use to show commitment.

Creating an atmosphere of success.

As a sponsor you can do specific things that have high return on investment, so that your scarcest resource which is time can be used effectively.

The following checklist describes ways to provide commitment and project support in a more effective manner than simply working harder.

If the sponsor does one item from each of the following sections each day, the probability of project success rises dramatically.

Communicate Commitment (What is Said).

  • Provide a clear definition of the overall goals and objectives for this project
  • Clearly articulate the business case or rationale for why this change is needed
  • Communicate how this project relates to the overall vision, strategy, and mission of the organization
  • Communicate strong ownership and personal commitment for this project
  • Communicate the objectives of this project to each target group, specifying what changes the group should expect
  • Communicate a clear understanding of the impact of the proposed change on each target group
  • Publicly pinpoint specific processes/procedures that must change
  • Communicate in a manner that encourages direct feedback.
  • Communicate in a manner that promotes a problem-solving climate.
  • Demonstrate strong communication skills, providing clear, concise, and understandable messages.

Reinforce Commitment (What is Done)

  • Constantly provide motivation to the project.
  • Prioritize activities and resources in the organization to reflect the importance of the project.
  • Demonstrate personal support privately to direct reports to generate their commitment to change.
  • Be tenacious in pursuit of objectives of the project.
  • Invest effort to build broad support for the project.
  • Strive for good working relationships with the project team.
  • Strive for good working relationships with the people who are impacted by the change.
  • Build a history of successfully implementing projects in your organization.

 Support (What is Reinforced in Others)

  •  Commit the resources necessary to achieve the objectives of the project.
  •  Commit to participation and providing leadership amongst other key decision makers and stakeholders
  • Place strong emphasis on rewards for achieving the change versus punishment for failure.
  • Focus reinforcement strategies on direct reports
  • Make both positive and negative reinforcement predictable, certain and immediate.
  • Emphasize formal and informal work unit reward and recognition, as well as individual reinforcement.
  • Link intrinsic rewards, e.g. doing your best, solving an important problem or providing the highest quality, to the success of the project.
  • Establish processes to monitor the progress of the project.
  • Make the old, undesired processes/procedures not accessible or more difficult to perform.
  • Make the new desired processes/procedures accessible and easier to perform.

Without the perceived and real commitment of the sponsor, a business initiative or project’s success is compromised.

APX Project Management work with sponsorsing managers and key decision makers to create the required environment for ongoing success

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