Question: How do you manage your sponsors when you have three different sponsors who have varied, often competing views of where a project should go?
Answer: If you’ve got three sponsors, you don’t have a sponsor. It’s like saying you’ve got three first priorities. Just as there can be only one first priority, there can be only one sponsor.
In your case, what you probably have, in fact, is a disorganized steering committee that never meets and doesn’t have anyone in charge. As you’ve already figured out, that’s not a recipe for success. It’s the makings for gridlock, politics and resistance.
As an IT person, you’re going to find it rather difficult to manage the competing views of differing business people with different interests.
What you need to do is insist that the business sponsors designate a primary sponsor and make that person responsible for forging consensus among all the business stakeholders. Let the business people work together to debate and balance the various political interests. They are in a better position than you are to facilitate these important political situations.
You then can take responsibility for forging the consensus among the technical stakeholders (e.g., architecture, development, quality assurance, deployment, networking, operations, project management office and support) and coordinating the meetings among the technical people. Together, you and the business sponsor can manage the negotiating process and work on gaining agreement on goals, process, product and constraints.
For more information about how you can leverage geeks to get the technology you want, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 310-694-0450.