5 Differences Between Project Manager And Project Sponsor

Paul Naybour

1. During the concept phase the project sponsor will be responsible for defining the requirements and benefits for the business case with the support of the project manager.  An example is where there is a requirement to build a nursery room at a local primary school – the sponsor will have to talk to all the stakeholders to the the strongest business case possible while the project manager will support the sponsor in gathering contractor costs based on the requirements. 

2. The definition phase requires much more involvement from the project manager.  The project manager will work with the contractors and team to have enough detail in order to get the approval to continue into the development phase for the new nursery room.   At this stage the project management plan is written and owned by the project manager.  The PMP provides detail on how the project will be run and is the responsibility of the project manager.  The project sponsor will oversee the project managers work at this stage and sign the PMP off. 

3. The development phase is when the project manager are responsible for the day to day running of the project according to the project management plan an example of this will be managing  and co-ordinating the contractors involved in building the new nursery.  The sponsor will oversee the project managers work and there will be stage reviews where the sponsor will provide acceptance to the project manager to continue to the next stage i.e. once foundation are laid the sponsor will sign off the stage.  During this phase the project manager will escalate any risks or issues they encounter and cannot resolve to the sponsor who will work with the Project manager to resolve.  Any changes will pass to the sponsor who will arbitrate between requirements and accept and reject changes as relevant.

4. During the handover and close stage the project manager will handover the deliverables to the users i.e. the new nursery room to the school.  The sponsor will liase with the users to sign off whether the deliverables are fit for purpose.  A lessons learned workshop will be held and will involve input from the sponsor and project manager to ensure any lessons learned are captured and shared with similar projects going forward.

5. Once the project has been handed over the project manager takes a step back.  The project sponsor will then be responsible to ensure that the project delivered against the requirements and realise the benefits in the business case i.e. the new nursery room provides much needed spaces for the local community 

3 thoughts on “5 Differences Between Project Manager And Project Sponsor”

  1. I am not sure about the PM not being involved in concept. Often it is good for the PM to support the sponsor defining the requirements and the business case. If they are not involve it may be too late once the funding is approved. You need to say a bit more about benefits realisation. An example based on a housing development or a new school (or something) would really help here.

Comments are closed.

Upcoming Courses

Scroll to Top