Project Sponsor role and responsibilities

The Project Sponsor is the project advocate and is responsible for directing a project to ensure that the benefits are achieved and that the project is viable at all times. The sponsor is the owner of the business case and primary risk taker. This is an active role and includes ensuring that the project always makes sound business sense, involving all parts of the organisation which benefit, engaging stakeholders, approving key deliverables, giving direction as and when required and making decisions or recommendations at key points in the project’s life.

The Project Sponsor authorises the project, and the Project Manager executes the project.

General role and responsibilities


  • Overall accountability for the project and its success.
  • Ensuring the project will deliver the agreed business benefits.
  • Championing and marketing the project throughout the organisation.
  • Providing institutional and strategic oversight to the Project Manager.
  • Acting as the link between the project, the University community and perhaps most importantly, management decision making groups.
  • Acting as an arbitrator and making decisions that may be beyond the authority of the Project Manager.
  • Acting as chairperson of the Steering Committee.


  • Ownership of the project business case.
  • Approving the context of the project (including political, economic, social, technical, legal and environmental aspects.
  • Approving resources on the project, including members of the steering group and other working groups, and the scope of the groups.
  • Ensuring that the business need remains valid and correctly prioritised throughout the project.
  • Ensuring change management processes are in place.
  • Ensuring risks management processes are in place.
  • Establishing the project organisation, roles and reporting structure and ensuring that the appropriate level of authority is in place to deliver the project.
  • Ensuring the project is under control.
  • Approving key project deliverables and timeframes.
  • Receiving and approving project updates and reports.
  • Resolving issues and conflicts (typically competition for resources and priority clashes) that are beyond the control of the Project Manager.
  • Ensuring overall quality of the project, both the methods used to develop it and the end product.
  • Accountability for the realisation of the project benefits once the project has been handed over and the output has moved from project status to business as usual activities.



Role and responsibilities

  • Informally establish the feasibility of the basic project idea.
  • Review the projects register to establish any duplication of project ideas or collaboration opportunities.
  • Assess what type of project this might be against the project assessment matrix eg. strategic/departmental/section.
  • Log idea/potential Mandate with SPCS.

Report to: Strategic Planning and Change (SPCS).


  • Initial consultations to assess support for the idea.
  • Outcome of the project assessment matrix.
  • Idea logged on projects register.

Tools and support

Stage 1 - Initiation and scoping

Role and responsibilities

  • Define the overall business objective for the project.
  • Consultation at strategic level to identify fit, opportunities for collaborations and other initiatives that should be considered.
  • Consultation with business analysts to establish options appraisal and potential approach.
  • Support creating the project mandate.
  • Sign off mandate for approval at committee.

Report to: Project Coordination Group (PCG)


  • Project mandate (.docx) or feasibility study.
  • Findings from options appraisal with business analysts.

Tools and support

Gate 1: Approval of mandate or feasibility study.

Stage 2 - Planning and defining the design and approach

Role and responsibilities

  • Overall responsibility and accountability for the project.
  • Strategic direction and lead.
  • Owns the business case.
  • Secure funding for the project.
  • Demonstrate the value to be gained from the project.
  • Gain wider support for the project.
  • Monitor and approve the approach to the delivery of the project.
  • Sign off the Business Case for approval by committee.

Reports to: Systems and Academic Projects Board (SAPB)/Capital Projects Board (CPB) → PCG


  • Business case.

Tools and support

Gate 2: Approval of project delivery (the business case).

Stage 3 - Implementation and delivery

Role and responsibility

  • Overall responsibility for the ongoing funding of the project against an agreed budget.
  • Ensure that the project deliverables contains everything required for benefits realisation.
  • Ensure adherence to the business case.
  • Monitor progress regularly by conducting project status meetings with the project manager and other stakeholders.
  • Take a cost/benefit/risk perspective to the steering group.
  • Resolve issues outside of the Project Manager’s control.
  • Co-ordinate issues resolution.
  • Recommend project closure, if appropriate.
  • Sign off the closure report.

Tools and support

Gate 3: Approval of project closure.

Stage 4 - Benefits realisation and continuous improvement

Role and responsibilities

  • Responsible for the realisation of the project benefits.
  • Monitor and report on benefits captured after closedown of the project.

Tools and support

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Strategic Projects Office