Developing sponsorship capability

Strong project/programme/portfolio sponsorship is the key driver for ensuring that an organisation’s investment in change returns positive results and delivers the strategic objectives.  Historically, organisations had taken different approaches to sponsorship.  The term sponsor applies to a variety of full-time or part-time roles: the roles that have ‘sponsorship’ in the job title, Senior Responsible Owners, Project Executives and others.

The diagram below shows the role of sponsor in relation to other change roles:

Governing change Non-exec board
Sponsoring change Exec board
Delivering change Project/programme manager
Business change manager

Sponsors provide overall direction and leadership for the implementation and delivery of projects/programmes/portfolios; champion the vision and strategic objectives; ensure alignment to the strategic direction of the organisation; secure necessary funding and resources; manage uncertainty outside the inner world of the projects/programmes/portfolios; manage stakeholders; determine priorities; ensure the right governance is in place; provide constructive challenge and support to the delivery teams.

We know from our years of experience developing transformational change capabilities across many organisations in private, public and third sectors, that strong sponsorship capability, with active and engaged SROs/sponsors are the key to the success of programmes - meeting the programme goals; delivering benefits and value for money; and, ultimately, delivering value to the stakeholders.

Capability development is a journey, however, which takes time and focus. It requires understanding the current level of capability; focusing on improving the way sponsorship is carried out; making processes more efficient, effective and consistent; developing ways of managing talent; raising awareness of sponsorship in the rest of the organisation and with stakeholders; improving competencies of individual sponsors. 

More and more organisations are recognising the need to improve the way they lead and sponsor investment in change.  But what does good look like?  What do sponsors actually do?  What needs to be in place for effective sponsorship?  What is the right amount of time sponsors need to carry out their role effectively?  How do they juggle time and conflicting priorities between the role as sponsors and their wider role?

Our consultants are recognised for their expertise in sponsorship and  have led development of sponsorship capability across different sectors over many years. We have delivered sponsor/SRO training/coaching to over 50 organisation; developed the sponsor development aspects of the Public Sector Programme Management Approach (PSPMA) and worked with APM on developing sponsorship competencies.

Our sponsorship services include:

  • Reviewing and assessing overall organisational sponsorship maturity and capability; and recommending focused improvements that would bring most benefits to delivery performance; and
  • Developing senior SROs/sponsors and sponsorship teams through coaching, mentoring and masterclasses.

Developing great sponsors

Executive leadership development for sponsoring change. We understand the need to develop capabilities and build confidence of the sponsors/Senior Responsible Owners (SROs) of projects/programmes within client organisations.

Download our SRO development brochure