A number of years ago I was told the analogy of the chicken and the pig and their input to the full English breakfast. Both were involved – the chicken contributes but the pig is fully committed. I’ll give you a minute to work that through . . .
In similar guises, I now use the chicken and pig analogy to represent the two different models that organisation use for sponsors. Both models are grounded in best practice and recognise that sponsors direct the project (rather than manage it), own the business case and are accountable for benefits delivery. However, where they sit within the organisation and how they undertake their duties are quite different.
THE CHICKEN SPONSOR
The chicken sponsor has the job title of Sponsor and undertakes the sponsoring roles of one or more projects as a full time role. They have no additional operational role. They work on behalf of the organisation to elicit requirements from the various stakeholders that will deliver benefits that contribute to the strategy of the organisation. They work with internal and external solution providers to identify the optimum solution for the organisation. Benefits delivery is overseen by the chicken sponsor, but the actual benefits are delivered by benefits owners in the various operational areas of the business.
- Provides an objective view of the requirements, solution and benefits of the project.
- May feel they can only report benefits rather than deliver them.
THE PIG SPONSOR
The pig sponsor is an operational manager and is accountable for achieving a set of operational KPIs. They undertake the role of sponsor on one or more projects alongside/ as part of their operational role. Benefits from the projects are required to achieve the KPI targets. The pig sponsor is the key contributor to the requirements and benefits identification. Solutions development is more likely to overseen by a project manager with the pig sponsor signing off the agreed solution. The pig sponsor is fully committed not just to the delivery of the outputs of the projects, but also to embedding the outputs in their operational area of the organisation in order to deliver the benefits.
- Fully understands the benefits and has direct line management authority to ensure they are delivered.
- May be fully engaged with an operational role and unable to allocate sufficient time to the sponsorship role.
Both sponsorship models are valid and effective if the appropriate governance structure are put in place.