High Performing Business – Project Initiation – Sponsors

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

To garner sponsor approval for your projects, get measurable data that shows how doing the project will ensure success.

To garner sponsor approval for your projects, get measurable data that shows how doing the project will ensure their success.

In the last post I talked about Project Stakeholders, today I’m going to talk about Project Sponsors.  The Project Sponsor is the person who sets the project in motion, often securing the funding and resources required and handling many issues outside the control of the project manager.  In many small operations the person who initiates the project, secures the funding, and manages the project is the same person.  In other cases, someone other than a project sponsor identifies the need for a project, and then is in a position of finding someone to sponsor the project (someone who can help secure the resources and support to carry out the project).   When this happens, the Project Sponsor needs a clear business case for doing the project and may need trade off scenarios for how to go about doing the project in the most efficient manner possible.

Let’s keep going with the same project we’ve been looking at in the previous blog posts – that of becoming Project Management Professional certified.  There are two large hurdles to becoming PMP certified.  The first hurdle is with satisfying the Project Management Institute’s eligibility criteria (you can read what that is in the Cheetah Smart Start Guide for the PMP). The second hurdle is to ensure you are adequately prepared to pass the four hour PMP certification exam.  Many people have “sponsor” support with becoming PMP certified – this means they have someone who helps pay for their preparation and examination fees.   Having this level of support reduces impact of funding your preparation.  The better prepared you are with the measurable benefits of being PMP certified (for the sponsor) and a comparative analysis of your options for becoming PMP certified, the more likely it is you will gain sponsor support in achieving this project objective.  This is also true for any other project you wish to pursue where you need sponsor support.

For the measurable benefits, Cheetah Learning studied the annual reports of the publicly traded clients who put at least twenty people through the Cheetah Exam Prep for the PMP.  Cheetah looked at ten years of clients to do this analysis. Ninety percent of these companies experienced an increase in revenue, profitability and return on equities in the years following developing a cadre of Project Management Professionals.  Eighty Five percent of the companies experienced an increased growth rate.   We can only speak to the improvement companies gained by retaining Cheetah Learning as Cheetah students learn far more than just how to pass the PMP exam with Cheetah’s accelerated four day approach – they learn how to learn fast.  By learning how to learn fast, the Cheetah students are able then to help their companies pursue new opportunities faster. They are also able to reduce the cost of doing subsequent projects as they have learned how to speed up the common learning curve required when starting up projects.  Furthermore, a PhD candidate studied how becoming a PMP improved people’s self-efficacy (that is their belief in their ability to achieve their goals).  Cheetah Learning was the only company with a sufficient sample size (number of students) for her research.  She discovered that by going through Cheetah’s Exam Prep for the PMP in only four days, people significantly increased their self efficacy.  This may also be the reason why the companies that retain Cheetah to help their staff become PMP certified experience significant operating improvements as their top talent has increased belief in their capabilities to perform.

Once the sponsor is swayed by the improvements to the operation by having you and others become PMP certified, then it’s time to show them why you’ve chosen one route over another.  Doing this shows you are a good project manager who thinks things through before you begin. Doing your homework, BEFORE approaching a potential project sponsor can significantly increase your chances of having your project funded and supported.  Download the Cheetah Smart Start Guide for the PMP to see the analysis for various approaches to preparing for the PMP exam.


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