What’s the difference between Sponsors and Stakeholders?
It’s common for Change Projects to either overlook the need, or to mix the roles of sponsors and stakeholders. This can lead to confusion and missed opportunities to assist project adoption.
The Sponsor is the person accountable to the project change, if the change project succeeds, they should lead the celebration, if the project fails, they hold ultimate accountability for the failure.
Referring back to the RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) model, only one (and always only one!) person can be accountable. Shared sponsorship or projects without a clear sponsor are very often not successful projects.
Stakeholders are people with a vested interest in the change. They are responsible for assisting the project to be successful.
Again referring to RACI, we can and should have more than one Stakeholder. Stakeholders are often drawn from areas of the business who are to be impacted by the change.
Ideally Stakeholders would be supportive of the change, however resistant Stakeholders are important from a Change Management perspective, especially if their influence is for key impacted business areas.