Usually it is the customer top level person who is project sponsor for a software development project, be it in-house or from a software development vendor. A Project Sponsor may presume that his/her roles during the project would be – sign agreement and papers, assign roles down the line for the project, monitor/review project at various stages etc. A critical and crucial role is overlooked that of getting into the project especially during atleast vendor’s business study and requirement gathering stage. It is not only important for project sponsor and directors to be part of this stage but equally important is to involve all top management in that.
In brief, Customer Top management has to fully understand the benefits being proposed by the vendor that will be produced by the software when it is in use. They should also participate fully in business study and requirement gathering meetings to define and freeze their own expectations from the project/product/software/vendor.