What turns a strategic project into success?

“Just” a couple of stakeholders: The Business Project Manager and The Project Sponsor. This is as simple as that.

The rest is very important, but only to support project process as smoothly as possible (Project Methodology, Risk Management, Change Management, Project delivery team, Integrator, Software…).
We are not talking here about tactical projects which don’t involve major changes, nether about small or startup companies where change and innovation are intrinsic. We are concentrated on big organizations facing strategic projects where change is key.
A strategic project is by definition unique, it brings change and innovation to the organization. The business Project Manager (Product owner) supports these changes; the Sponsor supports the Project Manager and decides. This magic tandem is a must to deliver value to the project.

What happens if the tandem is inefficient?
If one of these two pillars is deficient, only two scenarios are possible:
- The project simply stops, which is emotionally difficult for delivery teams, but may be positive to the organization, expressing a lake of project maturity,
- The project goes to the end, generally with high costs (human and financial) and/or with very poor value to the organization.



What is a project?
A project is a temporary period of time with a defined beginning and end, undertaken to meet unique objectives, typically to bring added value or beneficial change. The temporary nature stands in contrast with operations, which are repetitive, or permanent functional activities to produce products or services. A project is usually time-cost-scope constrained.


What is Project Management?
Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, securing, and managing resources to achieve project. In other words, Project Management is the set of methods, processes and systems supporting project and program delivery.

How to secure this tandem?

Sponsor and Project Manager must be complementary, trust each other and both in a position to take strong decision and mentor change management.

The Project Sponsor

The sponsor proactively defines the project's objectives and is accountable for success.
The sponsor promotes and defends the project and is the link between the project manager and senior managers. The sponsor plays a key role in communication (Upstream /Downstream) and Change Management; he should be a mentor, catalyst, motivator, barrier buster.
But most of all, the project sponsor must help the project to navigate conflicts between managers and TAKE DECISION AND ARBITRAGE.

Some skills of project sponsorship may be compensated by the Project Manager (Mentor, Catalyst, Change Management…).
The only which is an absolute must, is the ability of the project sponsor to TAKE DECISION and to ARBITRATE.

The Business Project Manager

The project manager is responsible for delivering the stated project objectives. The usual responsibilities of the Project Manager are:

  • - Developing the project plan
  • - Managing the project stakeholders
  • - Managing the project team
  • - Managing the project risk
  • - Managing the project schedule
  • - Managing the project budget
  • - Managing the project conflicts

These responsibilities are a must but mostly administrative and technical.
In case of strategic project, the Project Manager must be a catalyst, a mentor and act as a CHANGE MANAGER.