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Strategies for Project Sponsorship [Paperback]

Vicki James , Ron Rosenhead , Peter Taylor
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 29.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Management Concepts (30 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1567264069
  • ISBN-13: 978-1567264067
  • Product Dimensions: 25.2 x 17.6 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 792,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 'go to' book for project sponsors 8 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Strategies For Project Sponsorship (SPS) is a fine (and entertaining!) book by project management gurus Vicki James, Ron Rosenhead and Peter Taylor, which plugs a gaping hole in industry literature by comprehensively, pragmatically, and concisely addressing all aspects of project sponsorship. A quick scan of Amazon reveals just a handful of other books with a similar focus, compared with project management titles which run into the tens of thousands! Coupled with the fact that effective project sponsorship is consistently cited as a major project success factor, we're left scratching our heads as to why this area has remained so neglected for so long - BUT the wait is over!

SPS is a well written, well structured, waffle free zone, brimming with practical advice for project managers and sponsors alike. The book covers the entire project life cycle and clearly explains how the roles and responsibilities of the project sponsor should interface with those of the project manager at each stage of the cycle. The authors have helpfully split the book into three parts: I) For the Project Manager; II) For the Sponsor; III) For the Organisation. This is great as sponsors are far more likely to read their specific section (everyone loves to feel special, right?) - 27 pages of solid gold - than to find the time to read an entire book.

The book benefits from the combined authorship of three industry giants who have a vast amount of cross sector, international experience between them. I particularly enjoyed the real world case studies that are presented throughout the book, which bring concepts and strategies to life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Crucial Topic 7 July 2013
Strategies for Project Sponsorship addresses a vital and much neglected area of project management. It is a large subject area and the authors tackle it from two principal perspectives: from that of the Project Manager looking for tips about how to "handle" their sponsor, and from that of the sponsor focusing on their responsibilities and how to handle them. There is a third, organisational perspective, which is by far the weakest.

The PM perspective is well handled, with lots of good tips, although I did find that parts of the "working with challenging sponsors" chapter sometimes came across as flippant and thin. I think this first part is why most of the audience will buy the book, and they will get a lot of useful tips.

For me, it is part 2 - for the sponsor - that is the most valuable part of the book and I hope that many project sponsors will take up the authors' challenge to improve sponsorship skills and practices. For this reason, I found part 3 - for the organisation - the big disappointment. This is the main justification and, in parts, impassioned plea, that the authors put for good sponsorship. They are spot on. So, I would really like to have seen more on the strategic role of project sponsors in organisational governance and in the process of selecting the right portfolio of projects.

This is a good book, that could easily have been a great book. It is a tactical manual with a lot of good ideas, that has missed out on being a classic. It is the only book of its kind, however, so I recommend it highly, and hope it does well enough to merit a second edition. If that happens, then my plea is for more strategic focus, to supplement the good tactical support it offers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 Reasons Why This Book Is An Instant PM Classic 7 July 2013
By Michael Greer - Published on
Strategies for Project Sponsorship is a unique blend of practical, step-by-step tools; hard-won wisdom from the PM trenches; and solid, research-based recommendations. As a PM author reading this book, I found myself in awe of how nimbly the authors weaved together seemingly disparate elements: here citing research findings, there providing war stories or case study examples, and finally pivoting to morph these into powerful, ready-to-use tools. As someone who's both managed projects and trained project managers for more than three decades, I know this for certain: This book should be in every project manager's tool kit and in every project sponsor's briefcase.

Here are six reasons I believe this book will become an instant PM classic:
1. It shares powerful PM wisdom, based on real-world experience, regarding the subtle and nuanced process of sponsoring a project.
2. It provides insights that are typically unavailable to project managers without spending years gaining experience and acquiring scar tissue!
3. It provides practical, easy-to-use tools for project managers.
4. It does what every project manager has always wanted to do: It gently, but firmly, educates project sponsors about their crucial role.
5. It provides practical, easy-to-use tools for project sponsors.
6. It is firmly grounded in research. (Specifically, an extensive original survey: The Strategies for Project Sponsorship Survey and The Standish Group's CHAOS Manifesto 2012: The Year of the Executive Sponsor)

Reading this book, I had two voices in my head repeatedly proclaiming enthusiastically:
* "Yes! That's right! I know exactly what they're saying. I learned that same lesson myself via the School of Hard Knocks on the [XYZ] project a few years ago."
* "Wow! What a great resource! This is the tool I've always needed, but didn't realize I was missing!"

My recommendation: If you manage projects, get a copy of Strategies for Project Sponsorship for yourself. And then get one for all your project sponsors.

- Michael Greer, author, "The Project Management Minimalist: Just Enough PM to Rock Your Projects, (Project Management Minimalist (2nd, 11) by Greer, Michael [Paperback (2011)]" , "The Project Manager's Partner" Project Managers Partner A Step-by-Step Guide to Project Management , 2ND EDITION SPIRAL BINDINGand several other PM-related books. See my full review here: [...]
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authors get to the point 10 Aug 2013
By Douglas N Robertson - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was a quick read and packed with useful check lists and examples. Not very many pages in I found clear checklists I could use in my sphere of influence. After I finished reading, I passed along to another business associate to read and we are comparing notes. I plan tor read this book again and will probably adapt the advice and instruction to my own circumstances. Will be keeping in my library as a reference. I advise buying one for yourself and/or your organization.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a good book on Sponsorhip 10 Feb 2014
By Back From Red - Published on
As they say in the army, never volunteer. Nowhere could that be truer than when it comes to project sponsorship. Given a choice between a root canal and project sponsorship, most managers and executives start looking up dentists on the internet. It is a sad fact—one that project managers must deal with on a daily basis. It is often the project manager’s first solid opportunity to lead up.

Recently I received the book Strategies for Project Sponsorship by Vicki James (@VickiPPS), Ron Rosenhead (@ronrosenhead), and Peter Taylor (@thelazypm), all trustworthy twitter contributors. It took a while for the book to trickle “up” to the top of my stack; however, when it did I was more than impressed.

Train Your Sponsor

Whether you are a sponsor, an executive looking to assign a sponsor, or a project manager stuck with a less than optimal sponsor Strategies for Project Sponsorship underscores one critical fact—sponsors need training. The authors refer to it in politically correct terms of “influencing” and often more directly. In doing so, it is obvious that they have struggle for many hours, learning multiple tricks, attempting to get the most (in some cases, anything) out of a reluctant leader.

It starts with boldly stepping up and attempting to influence the selection of the individual. This is time well spent for any project manager. It gives you the opportunity to map out the degree of support you will get and training you will need to do. Notice that this is in the definitive—you will need to do training—sponsorship is not well understood.

Following this, the book continues to stress that point with tables and lists that will help you gain the most from your sponsor. One especially interesting tool, Sponsor Responsibility Evaluation Tool (which is repeated in Appendix B as a checklist), is a simple yet powerful table that identifies seventeen attributes for ranking your sponsor capabilities in supporting you and your project. This clear and concise method allows you to focus on where your sponsor needs help.

My recommendation would be to reformat this document and create a template job description for the project sponsor role in you organization. As in any other situation, when someone assumes the role, provide them with a job description.

The Stakeholder Involvement

In my experience, the most important role for a sponsor is identifying and helping to manage the key stakeholders. Chapter 4 is dedicated to defining the stakeholders’ involvement in the project—including creating an influence map. This tool is critical in not only defining which stakeholder’s are pigs and which are chickens (to use an agile term) but also to clearly communicate with your sponsor who needs the most attention when requests and issues surface. Without this matrix, neither you (as an executive or a project manager) know that the proper priority is being placed on your project’s stakeholders.

The Infamous Check List

In our hectic world where we wear multiple hats in any given hour, how can you remember all that you need to do. Focusing attention on one challenge just leaves others unattended to come back and bite you next week. The only solution is a good set of notes to prod your memory. Appendix C is just that, The Definitive Project Manager Checklist. This is a great quick reference guide to how to run your project and drive your sponsor. It is a nice credo to post in your office.

Quick Valuable Read

Strategies for Project Sponsorship is a quick and valuable read for executives, would-be and current sponsors, and project managers. Its tips on selecting, influencing, and training sponsors will help your projects stay focused and achieve better results. I strongly recommend reading it and following its advice.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Project delivery will be made easier for all if we had great project sponsorship." 6 Nov 2013
By Michael Kaplan - Published on
"C-suite executives are often missing in action". A recent survey by The Economist Intelligence Unit identified the number-one reason for the success of strategic initiatives is leadership buy-in and support. Thirty three percent of project managers admit they do not typically obtain the necessary senior-level sponsorship. This failure in leadership certainly decreases the ability to implement projects. This book on strategies for project sponsorship is organized in a well thought-out and easy to follow format. Project managers and sponsors can increase their percentage for success by utilizing these proven and practical techniques. This is a must read for those who want to achieve successful project outcomes!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical, actionable guidance 27 Oct 2013
By Robert - Published on
When I heard Vicki, Ron, and Peter would be publishing a book together, I had expected a lot and I have to say I was not disappointed. Each of the authors has proven to be exceptional thought leaders and their collaboration turned out a great book! The content and flow of topics is excellent! While so many folks are focused on methodology, risk management, and communication they are missing out on a key element to achieving project success...executive sponsorship. I thought the graphics were crisp and relevant throughout (not some space fillers), I enjoyed the 5 steps to making recommendations, the Stakeholder and PM Evaluation tools, and the section on Challenging Sponsors. Also, Appendix D - 50 Secrets... is an excellent reference.

Three thought leaders in the industry came together to produce a tremendous tool every PM, PMO Director, and potential project sponsor needs to have on their bookshelf! Great job!
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