080516_project management

Key Tasks for the L&D Project Manager and Project Sponsor

Friday, August 5, 2016

If the project sponsor (PS) and project manager (PM) are aligned, the project will go very well. To sustain these connections requires some very specific discussions, though.  Having the guts to ask the tough questions requires trust and authenticity.  It also requires a clear understanding of responsibilities. 

Here’s a look at key tasks of the PS and the PM: 



What’s more, to show competence, the project manager must help the project sponsor answer these questions accurately with a shared, consistent message:

  • How often do the PS and PM meet?
  • How often does the PS meet directly with executive stakeholders?
  • When will the project be completed and transitioned to operations? 
  • What will we have as a business when the project is completed that we don’t have now?  What will be the ROI (return on investment)?
  • What percentage of hours of the whole project is being used to manage the project? (Typically, strong projects are 10 to 25 percent.)
  • Are all key stakeholders actively involved in the project?

The PS must also ask the PM these questions, as his or her leader:

  • Where is your project charter?
  • What is the prioritization of various project constraints (time, budget, scope, quality)? 
  • Where are we on this project right now (percentage done: time, budget, scope/quality as appropriate to the specific project)?
  • What do you need that I can get you?  What keeps you up at night?
  • How can I help you improve stakeholder collaboration together and with us? 

For a deeper dive into project management for L&D, join me September 29 in New Orleans at ATD’s Core 4 Conference for the session: Methodology Madness: Complete Your Projects and Save Your Sanity.

About the Author

Lou Russell is president and CEO of Russell Martin & Associates. She is the author of the ATD Press books Project Management for Trainers, Leadership Training and 10 Steps to Successful Project Management, among other titles. In addition to her many books, she contributes frequently to Computer World, Cutter Executive Reports, and Network World, among others, and publishes Learning Flash, an electronic newsletter.

Lou speaks at several national and international conferences, such as the Project Management Institute, Project World, and LotuSphere. She holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from Purdue University, where she taught database and programming classes, and a master's degree in instructional technology from Indiana University.

1 Comment
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Thank you for this article.The relationship between the project manager and the project sponsor is critical, and doesn't get as much attention as it probably should!
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