Recent research has shown that project failure is often not directly attributable to the performance of project managers and project teams. Sometimes, project failure is caused by contextual factors, such as the breakdown of sponsor governance and support. This paper examines a research study looking at the governance and support issues involved in sponsoring projects and programs, noting the role a project sponsor must play to provide a project's required governance and support. In doing so, it discusses how the international standards for managing projects and the field's recent research perceive the project sponsor's role, particularly as it relates to governing projects. It overviews this two-phase, qualitative study's methodology, one developed to explore the holistic view of the project sponsorship role. It also describes the study's five goals and summarizes its data sources. It then outlines a conceptual model for understanding the multiple project roles that project sponsors play. It analyzes the research data in relation to the conceptual model, explaining when project sponsors need to focus on providing either governance or support. It overviews the project sponsor's role as described in the general management and leadership literature, identifying--from the authors' research--a project sponsor's key skills and traits.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/lynn_crawford/10/