When a Sponsor Departs

An Executive Shuffle Can Put a Project at a Disadvantage; Strong Project Managers Know How To Cope

Fernando Perez and his team were on track to deliver a US$10 million IT project on time and within budget. But in November 2015, halfway through the 15-month project, they hit a snag. Mr. Perez, a regional project manager at Citi in Buenos Aires, Argentina, learned that one of its executive sponsors was moving off the project. (Citi is a member of PMI's Global Executive Council.) The news stressed the project team, but the timing could have been far worse, Mr. Perez says. "Fortunately, I didn't have to make a critical decision, like a change in the timeline, when I didn't have a sponsor," he says. Because the project was healthy, "we could handle weeks without a sponsor." Not every project leader who loses a sponsor is as lucky.
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