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How to Resolve Project Sponsors’ Conflicting Goals

Is the Cold War looming over your project? Are two powerful entities vying for power with you caught in the middle? A little mediation might be in order before a missile crisis hits. In an article for TechRepublic, Moira Alexander discusses what project managers can do in assorted situations where project sponsors disagree with each other’s goals.

The Rocky IV Project

One problem that can emerge is when a sponsor tries to position a project to benefit his or her specific department instead of benefiting business strategy as a whole. In such a situation, the project manager should try to have a meeting of sponsors to reestablish the project’s alignment with strategy. But even then, it may take some doing for others to convince the rogue sponsor that his or her department goals are less than paramount.

A more difficult scenario is when sponsors all have the good of the business in mind, but they disagree about how to achieve that “good.” Prioritization conflicts arise. Alexander recommends this in such a case:

Sponsors will rely on you to guide the project from initiation to close while staying within scope (or as close to it as possible), so don’t expect project sponsors to know all the details around prioritizing. It’s your responsibility to educate sponsors about why certain tasks rank as higher priority than others; this is particularly critical when it comes to task priorities rather than individual department priorities. This may not be simple to explain, but it is necessary. By explaining things like task dependencies, it makes it clear to project sponsors why one task was ranked as a higher priority than another one.

A third yet still related issue is when sponsors clash over resource deployment. It is up to the project manager to be on top of resource management from the beginning, so that challenges of resource availability are never a surprise. When sponsors are set up to expect certain timelines and dependencies, it will at least take the sting off of the inconvenience. Furthermore, it will encourage sponsors to hash things out among themselves in advance.

To guarantee the peace of your project, you can view the original article here: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-to-resolve-project-sponsors-conflicting-goals/

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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