The Project Sponsor is required for every project.  The Sponsor may be an individual or a committee such as a Steering Committee.

The Sponsor is responsible for approving the overall scope, budget, and schedule for a project and any changes to these if they arise.

The Sponsor is engaged in the project.  Not necessarily day-to-day, but the Sponsor communicates regularly with the project manager regarding project status

The Sponsor is an advocate for the project within the organization.  The Sponsor typically holds a senior management position and uses their position of leadership to promote the project to his/her peers and the rest of the organization.

The Sponsor has the authority over all project team members.  All project team members report to the sponsor(s) in addition to the project manager.

Keeping a Sponsor engaged and informed can be a challenge when projects are not in their area of expertise.  The project manager must regularly communicate project progress in easy-to-understand terms.  Reviewing the last update as the first ‘slide’ in the next update is a good idea to bring the sponsor back up to speed.  Remember, the sponsor(s) likely has many initiatives underway and yours might not be the highest priority in their mind.

Absent or disengaged sponsor is a warning that the project may be in trouble.  When things go wrong on a project (and they always do), a disengaged sponsor makes it difficult to put a project back on track as quickly as possible.

The project manager must have a strong relationship with the sponsor based on trust.  Trust must be earned and maintained.

Have a look at your relationship with your sponsor this week.  Is it productive, strong, and based on trust?  If not, this is something that should be remedied as soon as possible!