THE PROJECT CHAMPION
The true advocate for your project
The Project Champion is the person within the organization implementing a project who takes on the responsibility of ensuring all internal and external stakeholders involved are on board and behind the ultimate success of the project.
Being the main project advocate, the project champion is the liaison between the project manager, upper management, external stakeholders and the audience of the project.
They focus more on addressing obstacles, issues brought up in the feedback received from internal and external stakeholders and obtaining resources than on making decisions or planning the steps that will make the project move forward. The champion is not the project manager but has a close working relationship with the project manager. They will meet regularly to discuss the project, any obstacles, the solutions to those obstacles and communicates the information from those meetings to the stakeholders.
A project champion’s position will often provide him with a broad view and understanding of the various concerns, goals and objectives within the stakeholder groups. This allows him to communicate effectively across all stakeholders groups as to the background behind decisions that are made and maintain a congruent relationship between the project team and its stakeholders.
The project champion provides updates on the project’s development and issues to upper management. The project champion also relays messages from the stakeholders to the project team relating to concerns or simply questions about the project’s status and progress.
They are typically a member of the senior management team, are well respected and trusted within the organization, are someone whose suggestions are usually considered, are familiar with organization politics and are someone who may possess unique and critical expertise in an area necessary to the successful delivery of the project.
Areas of responsibility may include:
- Defining and communicating the project’s strategic objectives or the Project’s “Why”.
- Identifying and recruiting the resources necessary to form the project team.
- Keeping everyone focused on the “Why” that will be realized through the successful implementation of the project.
- Ensuring that the vision for the project is translated into a scope, program, design, schedule and budget that address the “Why” by the project manager and the project team.
- Identifying and eliminating internal and external issues that may threaten the project’s program, design, schedule and budget.
- Identifying and communicating with the project manager the project’s phases and the deliverables necessary to move the project from one phase to the next.
- Providing regular updates to all internal and external stakeholders.
- Holding the project manager accountable for the timely delivery of their deliverables.
Some other items that are qualifications for the Project Champion are:
- Ability to understand all elements of the project.
- Possesses a relationship with senior management.
- Ability to motivate, mentor and inspire a team.
- Ability to negotiate with internal and external stakeholders.
- Ability to address obstacles and solve problems as they come up.
- Ability to keep all stakeholders and team members focused on the “Why”!
- Ability to hold all team members accountable.
- Ability to communication with all stakeholders regarding status, schedule and budget.
- Ability to adjust schedule and budget as the need arises.
What are some other qualifications that Project Champions should have from your experience?