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The sponsor is typically a senior executive accountable for the underlying project. In most cases this will be the executive responsible for the area of the organization directly affected by and benefitting from whatever the underlying project will address. In a commercial environment, this is the most senior “client” executive: the guy or gal signing for the expenditure. This executive can and in large organizations will usually delegate the role of sponsor to a lower-level (but still probably “senior”) executive—a direct report, if you will.

In some situations, where the project is an IT system to benefit multiple or indeterminate parts of an organization, the sponsor will be the “owner” of the system. For instance, the Chief Information or Chief Technology or Chief Digital Officer. This might make for some finessing at the executive levels, sorting out who gets pinned with being accountable or responsible for hiccups. At the project level, however, there’s generally not much distinction. The sponsor is always the most powerful cheerleader and snow plow (getting problems out of the way) in the project arsenal.


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