This group are peers of the Senior Responsible Owner and represent senior level sponsorship of the business change. More commonly associated with programmes, they provide top-level endorsement of the rationale and objectives and may collectively provide the Investment Decision Maker as well. They may also act as the programme board. This should not be confused with the project sponsor role which is used in construction projects and refers to the client-side project manager.

Purpose of the sponsoring group

Sponsorship means making key investment decisions and providing top-level endorsement of the rationale and objectives of a programme or project. It also means continuing senior level commitment and support for proposed change and championing the implementation of the new capabilities being delivered. Normally associated with programmes, the sponsoring group are peers of the Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) and key stakeholders in proposed change. The sponsoring group can sometimes adopt the role of programme board.

The sponsoring group represents the senior managers responsible for:

  • making the key investment decisions
  • defining the direction of the business
  • establishing the environment best suited to achieving programme objectives
  • setting and demonstrating the behaviours necessary to support change
  • providing the top-level commitment and involvement necessary to implement change

Over the life of a programme, in particular through the period of transition, there is a lot of uncertainty around and many long-standing procedures, reporting relationships and responsibilities may no longer apply. The sponsoring group must take the lead in establishing a style of leadership which helps the organisation through the change process.

Issues which need sponsoring group involvement may include:

  • communication with and motivation of staff
  • promotion of a team-working ethos
  • empowerment at all levels in the organisation
  • endorsement and encouragement of initiatives
  • recognition of appropriate risk-taking

Specific responsibilities of the sponsoring group

The sponsoring group is responsible for:

  • providing the programme mandate and investment decision
  • creating an environment in which the programme can thrive
  • endorsing, advising and supporting the SRO
  • providing continued commitment to the SRO at programme milestones
  • approving the progress of the programme against strategic objectives
  • providing visible leadership and commitment to the programme at communication events
  • confirming successful delivery and sign-off at the closure of the programme
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