Could you provide some reference examples of how to answer these questions? Please refer to the related article below.

  1. Why do some executives refuse to function as project sponsors?
  2. Can an executive be “forced” to function as a sponsor?
  3. Is it right for the sponsor to be the ultimate person responsible for the success or failure of the project?



Case Study: Moreland Company

Answer 1

The roles of a project sponsor and an executive in a company are different in many ways. An executive`s role is more related to the implementation of policies and programs in an organisation. In most of the cases, these policies and programs are approved by higher management or administration. The executives are responsible to monitor and handle the implementation of the same. Hence, there are not many decision making incidents involved in the day-to-day activities of an executive. For a person like Al Zink who had worked for decades as an executive, the role of a project sponsor may seem to be a more risk-oriented task. Especially when a project sponsor has the responsibility of making decisions about the schedule, project initiation, and project monitoring process, then the project sponsor is considered to be responsible for the overall success or failure of the project. Like Al Zink, executives may find it difficult to make decisions for a high-risk project that may turn out to be damaging for their career (Kerzner, 2017). Hence, due to the risks associated with the decision making in a project, some executives without prior experiences in handling projects, refuse to function as project sponsors.

Answer 2

Typically, an executive cannot be forced to function as a project sponsor without their consent. However, the case at the Moreland Company is different. First of all, Al Zink has joined the company not just an executive but as a vice president (Kerzner, 2017). So, the president has assigned the role of a project sponsor to him because his job at Moreland requires him to work as a project sponsor for projects. Being a vice president also requires that Al Zink understand the key components of some of these leadership roles in the company, specifically the process and risk involved in project sponsorship, so it is critical that he has experience in the position. Forcing an executive to work as a project sponsor can be good for a project or an organisation. A project sponsor should balance between the interests of a client and the organisation to defend the cost, time, and effort for a project. This can keep executives well-informed about the company and its relationship with clients. However, if a project sponsor is reluctant to make decisions for a project or is not committed to taking risks for a project, then it would be difficult for the project to be completed successfully.

Answer 3

A project is carried out by various people performing different roles. Each of them has different levels of commitment and different levels of interest in the project. The skills and experiences of all people working in a project are likely to be different, and that diversity can be a powerful thing. However, this also means that the success or failure of a project depends on various factors rather than depending only on the experience, or the performance, of a project sponsor. A project sponsor is responsible for leadership and decision making in a project. However, there may be other risks involved in undertaking a project, and these risks could lead to failure. At the end of the day, while the project sponsor is the leader of the project, they cannot be held solely responsible for all of the moving pieces in a project. A great example of this would be a situation in which a supplier of critical material fails to deliver that material. It is understandable that the project sponsor must then look for alternatives or a means of resolving the situation, but sometimes there are simply no alternatives to be found. In this case, it would be unfair to hold the project sponsor accountable for something so beyond their power to control.

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