October 20, 2014

The Project Champion: A Management Best Practice

project champion

At the start of every project, hopes are always high. Expectations will be exceeded. Deliverables will be timely. Customers will be amazed with the end result and zealously recommend potential clients.

Unfortunately, that is not always the case. There are times when projects go horribly off kilter. Timelines are missed, products or services do not live up to the customer’s vision and realization of success dwindles, creating a threat to customer relations and, even more damaging, the reputation of a business.

What consistently yields a positive outcome to projects of all scopes and sizes? The answer is far less of a what and more of a who. The true advocate for a project, and the gatekeeper of a project’s heroic success or dismal failure – is a project champion.

So What Is a Project Champion?

The project champion is the person within an organization implementing a project who takes on the burden of ensuring everyone involved is on board and behind the ultimate success of the project.

They are responsible for:

  • Identifying a project’s strategic objectives.
  • Working with the project team to ensure the vision for the project is successfully translated into the requirements and solution design.
  • Critically analyzing and ensuring best practices.
  • Identifying and eliminating obstacles that may threaten a project’s viability within the organization itself.
  • Prioritizing project phases based on value.
  • Relaying timely updates to all managers and client contacts impacted team members.
  • Appropriately allocating and organizing internal resources to ensure the successful completion implementation or adoption of a project.

They don’t take “no” or “I don’t have the time” for an answer. They keep everyone’s eyes on the prize that represents the successful implementation of this project.

A project champion is the unfeigned, authoritative and, at times, veracious champion of a project.

A bona fide project advocate, a project champion is typically a member of senior management or critical expertise that strengthens a project’s value by adding formidable experience to the mix. Accurately and efficiently delivering project success.

Seven Traits of a Project Champion

1) Qualifications and aptitude to understand all elements of the project.

2) Capacity to meet and exceed expectations of management.

3) Ability to motivate and inspire a team to buy in and become engaged in the project’s success.

4) Finesse to negotiate with all parties to ensure project success.

5) Exceptional problem solving abilities and the resourcefulness to defeat obstacles.

6) Superior organizational talents, and a knack for keeping team members on track.

7) Stellar communications skills, keeping all project stakeholders aware and engaged.

A project champion greatly reduces the likelihood of project failure. On the front lines of any project, and in direct communication with the entire team at all times, the project champion is the protector of a project. A critical sentry devoted to delivering a victorious project that thrills management.

Once one project or stage is complete, the project champion leaps into action to get the next one rolling – a hero in the lifecycle of project management.

Champion Photo via Shutterstock

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Chris Miles


Chris Miles Chris Miles is Founder and CEO of Miles Technologies, an award-winning IT, custom software, web design and online marketing firm in Moorestown, New Jersey. Miles Technologies in 2013 developed business by MILES, a Web based business operations platform designed to support all business functionalities. Miles is an expert in IT and business solutions.

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