A group of us, at the APM Chapter meeting, were talking about the relationship between project managers and sponsors. Of course everyone's experience was different on a sponsor by sponsor basis; some good and some bad. So we started stereotyping to see if there were any common sponsor types.
By twice as much as any other the most common type was the absent sponsor. You know the types? An empty chair at the project board meetings; a 'meeting declined' response in the inbox; unanswered (or worse, 'bounced') telephone calls!
Not only was this the most common type but there was a lot of agreement as to the probable causes. In the order in which the causes occurred the main reasons were thought to be:
Of course, there's no point sitting there complaining if you don't do something about it; so we turned our minds to more positive matters...what could we do to address the causes?
As a large group of project practitioners, we were quickly able to come up with and agree on a number of possible approaches. And this poses the really big question; if a group of project managers all have the same experience and views on how to address the problem/s, then why do we still have absent sponsors? We would expect to see Sponsors getting better and better at what they do, but this didn't seem to be the case.
So it seems we all have very similar problems and can identify ways of addressing them, but we don't seem to be doing so effectively or consistently. Surely this is a perfect opportunity for developing some simple tools and techniques that project managers could use to address the problem of the absent sponsor. We, at CITI, would be delighted to hear your views.
There are other things, too, of course. Contact CITI to see how you might adapt to be better at adopting Agile, or I can always be reached directly via email me at NDobson@citi.co.uk
Managing Consultant, CITI Limited