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As a project manager, getting your executive sponsor on board is critical for project success. But, let’s face it, getting them fully engaged and invested in the project can be a challenge. Some executive sponsors are not familiar with the project management process and may feel bogged down by it, leading to misinterpreted engagement as administrative.

So, how can you get your executive sponsor to work with you effectively to plan and execute your project? Here’s a step by step guide:

  • Identify their motivations and priorities: Before you start working with your executive sponsor, it’s crucial to understand what motivates and drives them. Ask questions to get a better understanding of their goals and priorities, and align your project with their interests. This way, they’ll be more likely to invest time and energy in the project.
  • Build rapport: Building a strong relationship with your executive sponsor is essential to achieving project success. Spend time getting to know them, and make sure they feel comfortable and confident in your abilities as a project manager.
  • Communicate clearly: Good communication is key to working effectively with your executive sponsor. Clearly outline the project goals, timeline, budget, and deliverables. Make sure to keep them updated on project progress and address any concerns they may have.
  • Be transparent about risks and challenges: Executive sponsors need to be aware of the challenges and risks that the project may face. Be upfront about any potential roadblocks and provide possible solutions for mitigating them.
  • Make it easy for them: Make sure that the information you provide to your executive sponsor is easy to understand and accessible. Use visual aids and make sure that any reports or presentations are concise and clear.
  • Provide regular updates: Keep your executive sponsor updated on project progress regularly. This will help them stay informed and engaged, and will also give them the opportunity to provide feedback and support.

Let’s say you’re working on a project to develop a new mobile app. Your executive sponsor is the CEO of the company and has limited experience with project management. To get them engaged and invested, you can start by identifying their motivations and priorities. In this case, the CEO’s main priority is to increase company revenue. You can align the project goals with this priority by demonstrating how the new app will increase revenue for the company.

Next, you can build rapport with the CEO by scheduling regular check-ins to discuss project progress and address any concerns they may have. Be transparent about any risks and challenges that the project may face, and provide possible solutions for mitigating them. Keep the CEO informed with regular updates and make sure that any information you provide is easy to understand and accessible.

In conclusion, getting your executive sponsor fully engaged and invested in the project takes effort, but it’s worth it. By understanding their motivations, building rapport, communicating clearly, being transparent about risks and challenges, making it easy for them, and providing regular updates, you can effectively navigate this relationship and deliver project success.

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