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What questions does the project manager need to ask a project sponsor?

What are the questions, that me, as a project manager, I need to ask to my project sponsor? I can't really think of any!

He knows what he should ask me, but I don't know what I should ask him, is my role only passive (listening getting orders) when dealing with the project sponsor? Should I ask, for example, ask some questions about upper management (what they think of the project, satisfied/not satisfied with how things are going, etc...).
asked 8 years ago by anonymous

1 Answer

Besides the usual briefing about the project (that the project sponsor usually tells you without you even asking him), there are lots of questions that you need to ask your project sponsor. I have separated the questions by each stage of the project:

During the project initiation:

- What is the vision of the project?
- How does he prefer the reporting (hard copy, soft copy)?
- How often do you need to report to him?
- How granular the reporting should be? Usually project sponsors are busy so a medium level of detail is enough (a bird's eye view is not good as the project sponsor needs to know more than other stakeholders)
- Who are the stakeholders (if he hasn't told you already)
- What his availability: how (email/by phone/in person) and when is he available

During the project execution:

- What does he think of the progress of the project?
- What would he do to improve the project?
- Does he think the project is still aligned with the initial baseline?
- Also there are some questions that the project managers ask related to conflicts between team members or between stakeholders.

During the project closure:

- Does he see the project as "done"?
- Does he perceive the project as a "success"?
- What does he think about the lessons learned gathered?

The project sponsor is there to help you, and typically his door is always open for you. And although his ultimate aim is to make sure that your project succeeds, just don't expect him to be that proactive by telling you what you should ask him.

Here are a couple of interesting articles on the subject:

- http://www.projectconnections.com/articles/011705-decarlo.html
- http://servicexen.wordpress.com/2008/05/06/questions-to-ask-any-project-sponsor-or-management/
answered 8 years ago by MaplePM (46,940 points)

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