Re-establish project ownership

Starting a project is easy but to overcome all the obstacles, to keep the focus and be truly committed from start to finish is significantly more challenging. Even though the owners that started a project and want the result from the project should be highly committed, there are many reasons why reality becomes different.

  • The project demands more focus and effort than expected
  • The project does not deliver the results that owners expect
  • Other priorities are becoming more important
  • The project is inherited from other parties and is not the owner’s own heart blood
  • Owners are losing control of projects


If a lack of owner and sponsorship commitment is experienced, it may be necessary to escalate the issue. Before escalating, it is always a good idea to assess what is actually needed and what is, in reality, taking place. There may be many different reasons for missing support and commitment and therefore, also many different solutions. Owners and sponsors may not be aware of things that should have been done or things they need to change. Therefore, the first step is to make them aware. As an owner or sponsor of a project, it might also be relevant to evaluate own performance and to ask the project the essential question “How can I help you?”

Assessment of owner and sponsorship execution is not just a matter of asking about general interest and motivation for the project. It is very much about evaluating what is actually taking place, what is actually being done, and to evaluate whether it is working.


Review of sponsorship execution 

Key questions to examine actual owner contribution:

  • Has the sponsor helped define vision and success criteria for the project?
  • Has the sponsor engaged and informed upper management about the project?
  • Has the sponsor obtained required resources and budget?
  • Has the sponsor proactively promoted the project in the organization?
  • Has the sponsor taken an active role in the issues that has been escalated?
  • Has the sponsor demonstrated good understanding of business issues and provided useful guidance?
  • Has the sponsor read, validated and provided feedback on documents and other material?
  • Has the sponsor participated in key meetings, including steering committee meetings?
  • Has the sponsor spent time guiding project management?