Blog Post Image

4.8 – Organisational Roles Question

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 4th November 2012


Explain how the relationship between sponsor, project manager and users operates through the lifecycle of the project; make five points in your answer.


I have posted an answer to the above question. Your feedback would be appreciated.


Many thanks, Richard.


During the concept phase the sponsor will work closely with the user in order to define the user requirements for the project and align the Business Case to these. The Project Manager will liaise with both the sponsor and the users to get an awareness of the makeup of the business case as this will provide the basis for the Project Management Plan (PMP). All three parties are likely to be involved in a gate review to gain approval to proceed at the end of each phase of the project lifecycle.


During the definition phase, the Project Manager will develop the PMP, while making sure that it aligns with the requirements set out in the Business Case. This will involve dialogue with the Sponsor, and if the content of the Business Case is not clear on an issue, the Project Manager may gain further clarity from the user.


During the implementation phase the Project Manager will liaise with the Project Sponsor if any changes are required to the project. The Project Manager and Sponsor will also liaise during Project Evaluation Reviews to review progress in respect of time, cost and quality, and alignment with the Business Case during each lifecycle phase. If any changes are proposed to the project requirements, these may be identified between the Project Manager and the user, however the user will have to communicate these to the Sponsor in order for the Business Case to be updated accordingly.


During handover and close out the Project manager will be making sure that all of the project deliverables have been met and all required documentation is in place. The Project Manager and Sponsor will review these against the Business Case, prior to sign off of acceptance by the user. Lessons Learned sessions will be held which allow each of these parties to express their views and take on board lessons learned to other projects in the future.


Throughout all of the above lifecycle phases, the Sponsor and Project Manager will work together to manage the Stakeholders involved in the project. The ways these are dealt with may depend on the issues in hand. For example, the Project Manager would likely deal with a Stakeholder issue regarding some disruption due to activities on a construction site, whereas the Sponsor may be best placed to assist with a strategic issue or one relating to the project as a whole.

  1. Paul says:


    I think your response is quite good and demonstrates understanding.

    I do have some specific points though I accept I am being very critical.

    1. You refer to the Users defining the “user requirements for the project”. This is manifestly correct, but, in practice, Users are generally involved in defining the project PRODUCT / DELIVERABLE. Use of this word helps differentiate from the “benefits” which will be realised by the product but which are not necessarily defined by the Users.

    2. In your second paragraph you state that the PM may gain clarity on the Business Case from the User. The Business Case is owned by the sponsor and it is more appropriate for the PM to secure such clarification from the Sponsor.

    3. In the third paragraph you suggest that the Business Case (and alignment to it) is reviewed during the Evaluation Reviews. Gate Reviews at the end of phases are a more appropriate opportunity for this. The project Evaluation reviews are primarily about reviewing progress against TCQ (as you state).

    One further general point that applies to all such questions. It will help the examiner if you explicitly identify the five points by, for instance starting the first paragraph with “The first point is… “, the second with “The second point is…”. It just helps them divide the marks available and also allows you to have more than one paragraph per point, should you feel that this is appropriate.

    I hope this is of some help.

    Adrian Taggart.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.