Each project or program has a sponsor or owner who is accountable for the success and benefits delivered to the University.

  • There is always one Executive Sponsor for each project, or one Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) for a program. This ensures a single point of accountability in front of the University.
  • In case of "co-sponsors", they can be marked as working together with the Executive Sponsor or SRO.

The governance group is kept small.

  • The ideal size of a governance group is maximum 7 members. This maximises the focus and effectiveness of each member.
  • If any additional members should advice the decision-making, they are best placed in a reference / working group.


The Executive Sponsor is the most important role in a project. They are accountable to the University that the intended improvements are delivered and benefits achieved in the timeframes promised. This commitment is given through the approval of the Project Business Case (or similar document).

Association for Project Management (UK) has produced a good guide on the Sponsor's role and is available here.


Simple projects are overseen by the Executive Sponsor directly through the project. Medium or complex projects have three major phases:

  1. The Executive Sponsor oversees the initiation.
  2. A project governance group (Project Board or Steering Committee) oversees the planning, implementation and closure of the project, i.e. the project delivery.
  3. The Executive Sponsor oversees and reports on embedding the outcome and realising the benefits.

table of project stages


The project governance is scaled according to the complexity of the project. This is based on the Project Assessment results.

The roles and suggested Terms of Reference (ToR) are explained further in a guideline to ACU project governance.

pyramid of project stages


Page last updated on 31/10/2023

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