Secure Cross Functional
Executive Sponsorship
Sponsorship is the single most important factor in ensuring successful
transformation of a business through program management. Numerous
studies on transformation programs have shown that one of the major
obstacles for transformational change is the lack of executive commit-
ment to the program. For a complex program to be successful in realizing
the program vision, achieving business objectives, and delivering the tar-
geted business outcomes, the need for an executive champion through the
course of the program is critical. Sponsorship is this executive commit-
ment and championship, and typically this role is titled executive sponsor.
e program executive sponsor authorizes, legitimizes, and demonstrates
ownership of the program. Since the program management team con-
fronts sticky cross divisional and cross functional issues, risk, changes,
constraints, and obstacles, the program manager ensures that the program
gets the highest level sponsorship from the executive sponsor throughout
the program management life cycle. Program sponsorship is needed at
multiple levels and in varying degrees at dierent stages of the program to
change the business. e program manager ensures that the sponsorship
needs are being met from program start to end.
e following topics are described in this chapter with the help of sup-
portive illustrations, including a real world case study:
Sponsorship of business transformation program
Multilevel program sponsorship model
Program value justication technique: Overview, objective, approach,
and helpful hints
Upward management of program sponsors
64 • Transforming Business with Program Management
Sponsorship of program outcome delivery and benets realization
Case study: Program to transform procurement function via
Most transformation programs are complex, as they drive signicant busi-
ness change across organizational boundaries and impact a large number
of stakeholders. e business change denition and impact analysis work
of the program team coupled with the stakeholder analysis provides the
key inputs to develop the sponsorship model. e example in Figure4.1
highlights the nature and layers of sponsorship needed on a typical trans-
formation program.
Executive Sponsor
Supply Chain,
Requirements Denition and Finalization – Business and Technical
Solution Design – Logical and Physical
Systems Development/Conguration
Organization Change Management – Impact, Communications, Training, and Readiness
Architecture Development – Business, Technical, and Organization
Implementation – Processes and Systems
Transition to Operations and Closure
Testing –Workow, Integration, Systems, and User Acceptance
Steering Committee
IT, Customer
Service, HR,
Functional Leadership
Program Delivery Tracks
Process Analysis and Redesign – Business and Technical
Sponsorship model for a typical transformation program.
Secure Cross Functional Executive Sponsorship • 65
e program sponsorship model is designed to have the vertical (or
functional) sponsorship as well as the horizontal (or track) sponsorship.
is program is impacting stakeholders in numerous business functions
(e.g., sales, supply chain, and nance), and functional level sponsorship is
necessary to either comply with or commit to the changes within those
functions. e cross functional changes that this program is driving can
be implemented with executive sponsorship, as that organization level pos-
sesses sucient power and inuence to do the same. e business change
the program is driving is supported by the program steering committee
comprising inuential stakeholders from the impacted business areas.
e illustrated program has numerous horizontal delivery tracks to
facilitate execution of this program. Each of these tracks is led by project
manager(s), and each track is ultimately owned by a track sponsor. e pro-
gram manager and track sponsor collaborate in ensuring the highest level
support to the program delivery tracks. So, if the team tasked with tracking
the business and technical requirements is encountering any obstacles, the
program manager can support that team by eliminating the barriers.
Typically, the program manager plays the sponsor role for the project(s)
in the delivery tracks. Based on the organizations structure, funding
mechanisms, and responsibility boundaries, it is possible for a non program
manager to play the project sponsor role for a subset of the projects con-
stituting the program. However, in such a scenario, the sponsoring indi-
vidual partners with the program manager are directing and supporting
that project subset. e transformation program manager ensures that the
ultimate goal—getting the right stakeholders to engage in the right pro-
gram activities at the right times—is achieved on the program.
e delineation of roles and responsibilities within the core program
team is essential. Figure4.2 highlights the following six roles in the con-
text of the sample transformation program presented here:
Executive sponsor
Steering committee
Program manager
Track sponsor
Project manager
Core team

Get Transforming Business with Program Management now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.