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

61 Comments ▼

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.

61 Reactions
  1. I agree that a project champion is a necessary role that must be fulfilled in order for a company to successfully complete a project or systematic change. I also think that the seven traits Chris lays out for what it takes to be a successful project champion might be hard to find in one person. In my experience, some leaders are very good at inspiring their followers to push forward through challenges, but they might not be as successful at solving problems or staying organized. I think that, while a project champion with ALL of the traits described above would be the ideal person, we should not discount other leaders who might also be able to help take on a champion role, without fulfilling all of these traits perfectly.

  2. As a contractor that has been employed as a PMA, Project Manager, and Program Analyst, I understand and truly value having a champion on-site. A champion is an advocate of sorts that keeps your project, budget, and/or initiative relevant. They are usually in rooms you are not pushing your initiative or program forward. Not having one can be the end of your project or cause of reductions in budget or change of scope.

  3. Project champions are a vital to the life of the project. I like the term ‘advocate’ used to describe the project champion. Someone whose only prerogative is making sure that the project has everything it needs to be completed on time and on budget. I think it is an important distinction that the leader does not have to be the project champion. Someone who is closer to the ins and outs of the project may be a better fit. After looking at what a project champion does, I am left wondering what type of person makes for project champion. What professional experience would someone want to see in a candidate when looking for a project champion?

  4. A project champion is someone that is always required in organizations when there are difficult things to achieve. Someone from the team has to step up and make things happen while leading the way. The hardest things to find in a company are precisely the ideal candidates for project champions. However, I also believe that a trait that is missing happens when the project champion is missing. Moreover, there should be someone else that he or she has previously coached and trained so in absence of the person another leader can step up and make the team work together.

  5. The article is an interesting article in that it references some of the characteristics required to be a successful project manager. However, it fails to take into consideration the practical undercurrents of an organizations’ structure regarding the intrinsic humanistic and cultural norms adopted by the company. The way in which an organization relates to its’ members as well as the reputation that the organization has developed throughout its’ existence. These are important factors associated with the success or lack thereof for the “project champion”. These are factors that can and will limit the range and scope of the project managers ability to get things done in a way that fluidly moves his or her ideas forward.

  6. This article is very interesting in how they are in talks of what it means to be a great project manager or in their words a project champion. With being a project champion in this article its discussed to be the person that takes on the burdens of getting everyone involved with the project on the same page to ensure a successful project. To me I see that these seven traits to be a successful project champion can transform project managers to another level with being more successful.

  7. As we look into important traits of a Project Champion, the first aspect that Miles points out is that they should have the correct qualifications and be one who understands ALL elements of the project. In order for a Project Champion to lead their team towards its highest potential, I believe that they should have experience in as many areas of Project Management as possible. Having such experience will allow them to truly understand all elements of the project. In turn, this will increase the effectiveness of motivating, solving problems as well as keeping the team on track towards success.

  8. Starting a project often goes with anxiety and fear of the unknown despite high hopes. However, overcoming fear opens doors to great heights. If results are beyond expectations, success stories’ pages keep turning unless nature strikes like the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the globe’s health and economy since late 2019 to present.

    “When you enter the range of 40 to 70 percent of all available information, think about making your decision… never wait too long, never run out of time” (Yoest, 2017, p. 107).

    From leadership experience so far, the possibility of carrying everyone on board for championship seems unrealistic. Of course, there would be opposition group and those who take longer time to come on board. I agree with Professor Yoest that, 40 to 70 percent key support to move forward and exceed expectations while keeping an eye on the remaining 30 percent or more taking their time to come on board.

    Reference
    Yoest, J.W. (2017). The Memo: How the Classified Military Document That Helped the US Win WWII Can Help You Succeed in Business. Nashville, NY: Post Hill Press

  9. Project champions serve as liaisons between project team members and management. Often projects start with enthusiasm but later fail at the implementation or post implementation stage. Project champions serve an important role in any organization because they engage the right people to assist with bringing the change vision to life. The role of project champion is often taken on rather than given by senior management. Therefore, project champions may or may not have the authority to make change happen.

  10. Michael A. Harris

    The functions of a project champion is as important as the person behind the role. More times than not, an individual takes on the role or is given the role but lacks the leadership necessary to deliver in an appropriate way. I’ve witnessed cases where this was true, however the project did not suffer due to the leadership surrounding the would-be champion. In most cases, the make-up of the project’s team outweighs the sole champion.

  11. DeAndre' M. Baker

    While I agree with all seven of the project champion traits, I can’t say that I agree with all of the outlined responsibilities. To echo the sentiments of previous commentators, I think it depends on the structure of the organization and the dynamic of the project and the project team.

    A project champion can be a powerful asset to a project manager if utilized properly, but if mismanaged, it can lead to scope creep due to a lack of change control and oversight. In my experience, I have witnessed both weak and strong matrixed projects become lost and chaotic due to a lack of oversight in these areas. Simply put, the project team didn’t know who was calling the shots, because project champions could not be distinguished from the project manager(s).

    It all boils down to two things: responsibility and ultimately, communication. Enforcing best practices, relaying timely updates, and translating the project vision are all acceptable responsibilities for a project champion, but reallocating resources, prioritizing project phases, or eliminating risks borderline infringes upon the integrity of the project, its schedule, and deliverables; Ultimately these are things that the project manager will be held accountable for.

    Yes, having highly skilled and intuitive individuals leading teams to complete project work and advocate the success of the project to stakeholders is a large asset, however that power should come with limitations. I also believe it’s possible to have multiple champions on a project, usually at each phase or sometimes one for each work package.

  12. The most significant traits of a project champion are numbers 5 and 7 listed above. In order for project champions to be successful and guide organizations through change and resistance, they must have effective communication skills. These cannot be learned overnight. Project champions develop communication skills through research and study, as well as through trial and error. Every organization needs different forms of communication, and it is on the leader to determine what communication is effective and necessary. Leaders who want to be project champions need to understand this. I have seen sports team captains fail at communicating with their teammates, which leads to further issues on the team. Additionally, the second most important trait of a project champion is the ability to overcome challenges and problem-solve. The most effective leaders are the most adaptable ones. They recognize issue and find ways to be better. Stubborn and closed-minded individuals cannot be project champions. It is reality that all teams, organizations and companies will face challenges, so it important to have leaders who can overcome them in the most effective way for the entire organization.

  13. Reading this makes me wonder if there could be a champion who possesses all of these traits. Because the champion role is one that is appointed, could it be that one could grow into this role? We all need someone to monitor resources, be an expert in communication and relay information to stakeholders and workers, but the traits themselves seem incredibly dynamic for one person. That’s a lot of weight. Could two people serve as champions? I also strongly believe that the responsibilities and traits would vary greatly depending on the type of team and the scope of the project. But perhaps this was just an outline and not an exact model for what a project champion would look like.

  14. The project champions are often the bridge between the completion of a well done project and the members within a group. whether it is a smaller grade school project or a large corporate project we can often see this type of person step up among the group. They understand what needs to be completed, by when it needs to be completed, and the limitations the group may have. The project champion above most all else must be an effective communicator. When working with a team communication is one of the first steps of establishing a clear direction and the project champion is usually the catalyst for this.

  15. Marina Pontes Oliveira

    While the responsibilities of the stated project champion are indeed great, why not simply add those to the project manager? As per my understanding s/he holds it to begin with anyways. Great PM’s are responsible for making sure that all involved are committed and working towards the ultimate goal, even in matrixes or functional structures. In these cases, s/he has the responsibility to coordinate with the other managers priorities and staff. Great leaders are inspiring and have their teams onboard, whether they are project managers or not. I feel that adding this extra individual could lead to confusion between staff members regarding who’s responsible and who’s decisions to follow.

  16. A project champion is deeply devoted, invested and one would hope, voracious concerning its success. I’ve seen comments referring to the champion as a facilitator, liason, an advocate, etc based on project context and role within the group, especially when differentiating the champion from the leader or manager. I believe we can also add sponsor, and to a slightly lesser degree, mentor to the list. Taking into account the various qualities and skills this project champion must have – engaged, dedicated, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, supportive, high-performing, experienced, respected, influencer, org culture expert, protector – this ideal project champion sounds to like a hero indeed.
    However, I have had the privilege to meet a small number of individuals who have displayed the 7 project champion traits above, and while I may feel the responsibilities section blurs the line between project manager and project champion, I agree these individuals can be integral to a project’s success.

  17. I like this idea of a project champion and the notion that knowledge and people skills combined together create an unstoppable successful force, but I have trouble believing that although this formula may work far more often than it does not, that it may not be foolproof or the best option in all cases. Regardless, I think a project champion is like an experienced salesman. They know about the items they have to sell but they also have to know how to sell it. Nobody just wants to know about anything but they also must have their heart captured to be swayed to buy what it is you are selling. You sell the emotional piece and the tangible good and you win. The project champion has the same responsibility. They must bring about success by what they know and show people they know while also selling the emotional piece for employees to buy in and also be a part of the successful process.

  18. Great article, Prof. Yoest. A theme I see in the seven traits of a project champion is that he needs to know how to talk to and empathize with people (people skills). A project champion should be able to motivate, inspire, communicate and organize others with elegance and finesse. Unlike what I often see, it is not simply enough to have someone who can sit atop the hierarchy and bark orders at the people below. A manager who only talks to employees when he needs something is hardly a project champion. A project champion is a person of authority who cares about the whole employee, and not just the work that he brings.

  19. In reading this article and thinking back on all that I learned from this class, it revealed to me that there is no way that anyone can be a “perfect” leader, everyone can have this information at their finger tips, but no one can do all of these things at the same time. Sometimes you have to remain on organized and sometimes you have to focus on problem solving. In some moments you have to focus on building rapport with your employees and other times you have to correct and be the leader. All of these things make a good leader, but then some people are just not good in some areas, everyone has their areas of expertise, and so they can not be perfect in all areas.

    I like the idea of a project companion because I have been a part of many things were everyone involved is not as passionate as others or feel that they belong in the group. I think the companion can bring light to why everyone’s job is equally important and why everyone’s work leads to the success of the entire organization.

  20. When starting a group project we have all probably had a similar experience. Gathering around the table looking at each other waiting for the first individual to jump in. Where do we start, what are the first steps? This is where I would say a Project Champion emerges. Having a project champion can ensure that a task is completed in a timely manner and makes sure the rest of the team is on track. It seems as though a project champion would have a deep sense of pride in the work that is being completed where their name will also appear. The difference between a project champion and a manager is that a manager is known to have a sense of power within the hierarchy. However, a project champion can be anyone. They don’t have to have an assigned position to lead. Whether we recognize it or not project champions are what fuel the fire to get work done and done correctly.

  21. This article incorporated some very helpful insight. Critically analyzing, ensuring best practices, identifying and eliminating obstacles are three traits mangers should seek. Encompassing those practices will enable any team member to become a Project Champion. More supervisors should take notes from this article in order to engage employees to be Project Champions. It begins with the company; it is a must that management exemplify appreciation. Showing the employee that they recognize them going above and beyond the extra mile. Demonstrating how the company appreciates the time, hard work and efforts that have pave the way for the changes made would be a nice incentive.

  22. When starting a group project we have all probably had a similar experience. Gathering around the table looking at each other waiting for the first individual to jump in. Where do we start, what are the first steps? This is where I would say a Project Champion emerges. Having a project champion can ensure that a task is completed in a timely manner and makes sure the rest of the team is on track. It seems as though a project champion would have a deep sense of pride in the work that is being completed where their name will also appear. The difference between a project champion and a manager is that a manager is known to have a sense of power within the hierarchy. However, a project champion can be anyone. They don’t have to have an assigned position to lead. A project champion likely has gained the respect from their peers as they lead and is looked to to have answers when there is an unknown.

  23. Really insightful context about the Project Champion and their role. The points drive home the multifaceted tasks the Project Champion needs to represent. The “who and what” framework highlights the need for the Project Champion to sponsor the project in all the ways that might be needed. It should not be a figure-head role, it should be a decision maker within the confines of the project. Being the “face of the project” helps to extend the Project Champion’s experience, temperament and attitude to the initiative itself. Understanding that the “project can fail” and having contingencies ready, “up front” to the extent possible can ease any “ill-will” associated with issues that surface. No doubt something unplan will need to be managed.

    The most effective Project Champions avoids “explaining the issue”. The Project Champion can’t make excuses, blame internal and external forces, etc. Knowing that it can happen, building time, resources and planning for them not only better manages expectations but if contingences are not needed, the project can exceed expectations. This is where the Project Champion may be able to take risks or be more aggressive in the plan. The latitude works both ways with a good Project Champion. I’ve not seen too many projects that exceed their deliverables but having a solid “command and control” system in place, a credible and consistent communications plans turns project stakeholders into shareholders.

  24. I was horrified when I first read this article – if I were a project manager I would NOT want someone with their nose constantly in my project and in direct contact with my team and in between me and management! However, I can also see that having an extra person who acts as a true advocate of the project, would be great to have on board if they had PM experience – hopefully their experience would teach them not to overreach and hopefully they would understand their own role clearly. The champion’s liaison role with management and stakeholders seems very useful, because you cannot have too much help in the internal politics department, especially if things get delayed in some way – an ally (someone on your side but not necessarily on the inside of your team, and so viewed as more objective…) would be extremely helpful to keep everyone focused on why the project is worth the wait, and worth the effort.

  25. A project champion is a much more glamorous title to refer to a project manager. I agree wholeheartedly with the identification of a project champion to shepherd an idea or plan from start to finish. This role is vital and ensures the project can be successfully implemented and deployed across the organization. It’s important for this individual to be communicative and swift at responding to problems with the end goal in sight. When implementing change, leadership should always name a project champion so that no one loses sight of tasks that need to be completed and the action items needed to finish the project.

  26. Antonia Hawkins-Johnson

    An interesting read, it seems the project champion this the middle man. The person in between the project manager and staff. This position will always hold the most weight on ones shoulders. Successfully implementing orders from the project manager all while translating requirements and solutions designs to the staff/team for the perfect outcome of a project. Communication, knowledge, best practices and patience are a few of the main ingredients to possess for the position to run smoothly. The seven traits of a project champion are essential, however, this should also include being a positive image to the team: “walk the talk”, displaying a versatile management style, setting the tone for the team and adapting to different managerial settings.

  27. This article thoroughly explains the roles and responsibilities of a project champion. Project champions possess many characteristics that help them in leading, overseeing, and executing projects successfully. They tend to be able to see the big picture and use multiple perspectives to help make the best possible decisions. Project champions are usually the most well-informed and have a certain conviction when yielding positive outcomes. The article discusses the importance of a project champion and that they don’t take “no” for an answer. They find ways to not only get the job done, but do it at a high level. Lastly, like many effective leaders, project champions are the first to give praise elsewhere when successful, but also willing to take the blame when a project fails.

  28. The Project Champion is the vital element to the managers task force. It is easy for a team that has a great culture to lose sight of the goal, which is why a project champion is necessary to ensure the task is done. While the culture may be perfect, the tasks still need to get done and be effective. Communication plays a big part in the project champions role because everyone on the team must be informed about the task at hand. When there is miscommunication or none at all, the team is constantly questioning their decisions and also lose sight of work that is higher on the priority list. Overall, everyone needs a project champion on their task force to ensure that tasks are getting done effectively and timely

  29. This article is extremely interesting and I completely agree! A project champion is essential for the successful and timely completion of any project. The article gives a clear description of all the traits a project champion must carry and out of the traits listed I believe communication is the biggest key to success. Communication is the root of a successful project because without proper communication, direction to employees, or clear explanation of requirements error can occur in the early stages of a project.

  30. I found this article very interesting and helpful for future projects. I believe it gives clear and understandable expectations of the role of a project manager, a person who, above all, needs to be as clear as possible when communicating what the project is about, the expectations, people’s roles, timelines, objectives and goals, as well as possible obstacles that the team may face. To me, a manager needs to communicate all of this effectively and make it understandable and reliable for the rest, as this is the most important thing from a manager.

  31. I like the fact that a stellar project champion has stellar communication skills. Knows when to explain key details and when to hold details close to the chest. This is also true in my profession you have to say and communicate well with students in order to get them going and be strong in verbal and non verbal details of certain assignments. Teacher’s are undervalued, overworked, and underpaid. Yet we are the project champions trying to get young scholars to take an interest in learning. It is a different project each year because each class is different every year. Teachers are the best at project management, we plan for short term and long term goals. Try manage a small budget, to reap large rewards on the project. The true project champions are literally not to far away from your local school.

    Most teachers have all these traits superior organizational talents, and exceptional problem solving skills.

  32. Christian Walker

    The project champion is a well-versed individual that gets the job done. One of my takeaways from this article is that, in my experience, I have only encountered a true project champion twice. Those people met the qualifications and traits that were listed above. The most important qualities that stood out to me were communication, the ability to inspire, delegate, and overall qualifications. With these traits alone, you have a great team member that can become a project champion. As the bridge between the project and the team, they must know what must be done and when. So they must also have the vision to see ahead and to reach for it. Also, their ability to work with people cannot be understated because people risk is the most common theme that will cause the success or failure of a project.

  33. I think the article gives a great background and lays the ground work as to what makes for a successful project champion. Someone who keeps all significant parties on task with no preconceived notions or any sort of favoritism to one portion of the task at hand or person. If said project champion partakes in a situation that challenges the integrity or overall efficiency of a given project or task their role and value to the organization significantly decreases. Ultimately a project champion is someone who can wear many hats and is proven to be a motivator and someone who can bring the best out of coworkers and colleagues but all manage with a tight ship mentality in an effort to complete the job on time and to the best of the groups ability. A project champion who represents all these ideals will no doubt be successful in the eyes of upper management and thus increasing their level of credibility within an organization. Which was my biggest takeaway after reading through this article which was very informative.

  34. After reading the project champion article, I gained a deeper knowledge and much insight in regard to what a project champion’s responsibilities and duties consists of. It gave me a deeper understanding and a great perspective on the importance of a project champion’s role within an organization. As the article states, a project champion is in charge of analyzing and figuring out best practices, identifying project objectives as well as providing managers and clients with necessary updates. These are all necessary responsibilities a project champion needs to maintain throughout the work environment daily, as it allows the organization to function well and successfully.

  35. After reading the project champion article, I gained a deeper knowledge and much insight in regard to what a project champion’s responsibilities and duties consists of. It gave me a deeper understanding and a great perspective on the importance of a project champion’s role within an organization. As the article states, a project champion is in charge of analyzing and figuring out best practices, identifying project objectives as well as providing managers and clients with necessary updates. These are all necessary responsibilities a project champion needs to maintain throughout the work enviornment daily, as it allows the organization to function well and succesfully.

  36. I believe a project can still be done without a project champion, however, as per experience, a project champion helps ensure that everyone involved is on board on the success of the project. Project champion is the one who oversees and is responsible for the outcome of the project. He/she is committed, devoted and knowledgeable, or an expert, that he/she knows the process from inception to implementation to its end result. Furthermore, project champion should have the authority to direct the project and makes the final decisions, if need to. He/she makes sure that both the organization and the project’s objectives are still aligned and achieved.

    But then again, I do not agree with the author’s final statement that after a project is done, then project champion will just ‘leaps into action to get the next one rolling.’ Follow up should be done in order to have the changes be effective, and that employees are not left hanging after the project’s completion. Project champion should confirm that the changes are deeply embedded to the employees that it is now safe to tag the project as a success and move on to the next.

  37. I really enjoyed your article. I think you brought up some interesting points about a project champion. Project champions take it upon themselves to ensure the team’s success. They do this by checking in with the team and stakeholders and keeping team members accountable for their actions. I loved how you discussed that “they don’t take ‘no’ or ‘I don’t have the time’ for an answer.” This shows that they look beyond the basic questions that can be answered yes or no and instead look for lasting solutions. This strategic thinking is necessary for a team to implement the project and overall strategy successfully.

  38. I enjoyed reading this article as it reinforces traits that I see in myself with managing a project or ones that I don’t even think about. These traits are also ones that I see in my peers when working on a project with a tight turnaround in time to meet. Project champions are essential and there is always that one that seems to serve as the project champion. It is important for the project champion to keep things moving and follows up on their team and holds them accountable. A project champion also takes the risks of things perhaps falling through the cracks but they become a leader to their small or large team of followers. I appreciate the value in the project champion as “they are the protector of the project.” It is a great way to define their role. I look forward to using these traits outlined in the above article moving forward in my position.

  39. I agree that it is really important to have a project champion within a group. Someone who can lead, take initiative, and hold people accountable determines the success of a project. However, in order to be effective at leading a successful project, you do not need to be unfeigned, authoritative and, at times, veracious champion of a project.” There are tons of different leadership styles that can do a great job of holding people accountable. It is also depends on the employees or the team members. The project champion or leader needs to meet their needs, and connect with them on an emotional state in order to keep the team in line. I also think there are more characteristics and traits of a leader who can be very effective, and those traits can be unlimited. It all depends on the traits and behaviors of the follower. If team members do not want an authoritative leader, then a project champion may not be a successful leader.

  40. A project champion can be very important to a project’s success. As I was reading the article I think it’s important to note that a project champion is not a project manager. The author distinguishes this, but I would be curious to see if it could be the same person or if the author’s intention is for it to be someone different. Many of the traits listed about the project champion align with the duties of a project manager, but it seems the project champion has a more supportive role. I think an important attribute about a project champion is that they need to advocate for the project as well. As said, many projects fail to meet initial expectations, but project champions working well with the group and the project manager can help projects succeed.

  41. As a small business owner with a background in business development and a graduate student in management, I especially enjoyed reading this article. If you work for a start-up or own your own company, your work will include managing a number of projects simultaneously. Reflecting back on my experience, I realize that the constant across all of the successful projects that I have been part of was that they had a project champion (whether it was someone else or me). I enjoy project management because I know that once I complete a project, I will be working on something different. This allows me to grow and learn new things that I can carry into the future. A project champion is essential to project success so any team that undertakes a project should first identify who the project champion is and ensure that the project champion possesses the seven traits listed in this article.

  42. I think having that person who sparks a project and keeps in sizzling until it becomes a roaring fire is a vital part to any team. I would even go as far as to think it can be a small group of people either working in tandem or on separate projects. I also agree that having the aptitude for what is necessary to the project is a no-brainer. You can’t complete a project you know nothing about. I think the most important on that list has to be problem solving ability and resourcefulness. A true project champion sees a problem and finds a solution. They don’t let something seemingly unpassable stop them. Everyone looks to them for answers and they need to provide it. Even if they are not 100% sure it will work.

  43. I really enjoyed reading this article. I appreciate that the author acknowledges that going into a project or a goal everyone wants to be successful and is eager for that success but things do not always end up the way people hoped in the end. This is very realistic and accurate. I also like that the author specifies that a projects needs a champion to be successful. In the past in similar discussions, just the importance of a leader is brought up. But it is more than a leader that is necessary, it is a champion. I think that the 7 traits of a champion are also very helpful in specifying what this means and looks like. The only question I have is how does the champion maintain the respect and following of everyone else? I think sometimes people who take on these traits can be looked at as annoying or overstepping and this can lead to resistance.

  44. A project champion certainly is a vital component to any project. Without a leader who directs and unifies project team members into a cohesive unit to achieve a common goal, the project is bound to get off track. A project champion understands project objectives and the vision and breaks it down into smaller increments or phases for completion. A key component of this concept is “prioritizing project phases based on value”. This is a core principle in agile project management methodologies. A project champion and leader determine what phases should be completed first based on value delivered. All while factoring in risk and dependencies. A project champion delivers the maximum value to the customer in the least amount of time. In order to understand value, a project leader must be in constant communication with the customer. Once the project champion understands the value the customer is looking for, they must eliminate any obstacles in order to assist team members in achieving that value.

  45. The importance of a project champion can’t be emphasized enough. These people often make or break the success of a project; and while the work of the group is important in its own right, the actions of the project champion can oftentimes outweigh the strength of the overall group. However, I want to push back on one of the points that Miles makes in that “A project champion is the unfeigned, authoritative and, at times, veracious champion of a project”. There are ways to inspire and lead without being authoritative. The most important skill a project champion can have is the ability to hold other members of the group accountable to an agreed-upon standard of behavior and performance. There are obviously a handful of leadership styles and ways to go about doing it, but I don’t necessarily believe that all of these ways fall under the umbrella of being “authoritative”. Sure, being authoritative may work with certain team members, but it is just as possible that this style can rub people the wrong way. If you go through the 7 traits of a project champion, all of these can be achieved without being authoritative as long as the project champion has the ability to command a group through communication and relationship building.

  46. Although I am not the typical member of Senior Management, being the middle man, I consider myself a Project Champion. Whether I like my work or not, I definitely get the job done. I understand fully the behavior stated in the responsibilities and traits mentioned to successfully achieve the completion of a project but not everyone does. The first trait mentioned is the aptitude to understand, which communication of the project is crucial to the success of any given assignment.

  47. I really enjoyed reading this article as it shows what projects need to be successful. Group projects continue to happen and evolve while we move out into the real work and in different jobs. A project champion is needed in every project for success because of the initiatives that the project champion take on. The project champion is in charge of the project as a whole and making sure everyone is on board. Although I am not currently in charge of a project in classes, but I am the leader of the Catholic University Softball team as I am one of their coaches. I do my best to make sure everyone is on board and everyone is working towards the same goal and vision. The project champion is essential and can be brought about with someone. stepping up. The project champion is a really great leader and overall manager of the project. They are needed to figure out problems and negotiations. The project champion is the speaker and voice of the group. This allows the project to stay on task and organized. Overall, a project champion is essential to all projects to be completed successfully.

  48. Having a leader that can guide not just one but a group of people through a difficult project is a massive boon for any organization. individuals with this kind of characteristic are a dime a dozen and are worth their weight in goal due to their ability to keep both their employees or coworkers on tract but also keep the project they are working on on track as well. From my own experience, among coaches not only the head coach must have this attitude but also the individual coordinators to have some base level of competitevness. having someone that is willing to give their time and effort to a project and see the completion of that project can only aide an organization.

  49. Project champions are critical to the success of organizational change. In this day and age, leadership no longer rests wholly at the top of the hierarchy. Leadership permeates, especially throughout middle-management. Project leaders aren’t always at the top of the organizational ladder. However, they possess the same skills and capacities of those who are. They have functional expertise and the power to lead teams through the implementation of change. They are critical thinkers, problem solvers, and have excellent communication skills. They are motivated, highly organized, and able to get things done. They translate the vision into action within their purview.
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  50. A project can be at risk of failure if a project champion is missing from the project. A project champion is someone who pushes the project rolling and makes sure everyone is on track with the project. It’s so crucial having someone who can step up and makes things happen while leading the team to its final results. A project champion does not have to be a project manager. It can be anyone who understands the project and is confident to lead the team to success. A project champion has great communication skills. He knows the right time to address the issues to keep the project moving and motivate everyone on the team.

  51. Being a champion is something that many people want to accomplish from the time they are a child to the day that they die. Being a project champion is no different. I believe that all properly motivated stakeholders in a project truly want to see the project succeed and flourish. It is at this point that being a project champion is possible. The points that were made here and the steps that it takes to be a champion are so attainable that everyone who works on a project should be able to be a champion said project. The most important and implorable part that I see here is that you DO NOT let the project fail by any means necessary.

  52. Colleen McLaughlin

    A project champion is a role that can be very vital to the success of a project or for a company to successfully implement change within their organization. One of the seven attributes that stood out to me is that a project champion must have the ability to motivate the team and also be able to have the team buy into the project’s success. A project champion is someone who will have the ability to keep everyone accountable, be motivating, and keep the project initiative moving in the right direction. They are someone who will not take “no” or “I don’t have time” for an answer. The character traits a project champion must possess is the ability to be stern, hold one another accountable, as well as be someone that the project team can look up to and realize all of the success they have had.

  53. Project champions are extremely important when running a project. They are essentially the advocate for the project, and the one that will report and fight for the project throughout its lifespan. They are the ones that make sure that the project has everything that it needs in order to succeed. They make sure that projects come in on time, and under/at budget. These people are generally great leaders, and very good at delegating work within the project.

  54. A real project champion is hard to come by but they are a highly valuable asset for any organization. Like the article says, a project champion can see the bigger picture and accurately communicate that to their team. They are doers, who do not take no for an answer. Being able to problem solve on the fly helps project champions finish their projects strong. A special skill in communicated is needed to both to speak to higher ups and their subordinates, giving equal respect and demanding it too.

  55. A project champion is crucial when a company is undergoing change and when a company embarks a new project. You want someone who can realistically set expectations and then try to exceed them. They can also effectively communicate with all members of the team to ensure that the project reaches and hits certain success markers. These types of people can make or break a project.

  56. A project champion is so important for any endeavor a company makes, no matter how small. One thing that really stuck out to me here was one of the seven traits being “capacity to meet and exceed expectations of management.” I like the way this is phrased for a few reasons. I think it inadvertently acknowledges that there may be team members who do have the aptitude to do the job, but not the capacity. I think in industries with high turn over, managers need to be ultra careful that they are maximizing the ability of potential project champions by making sure they have the time to do so. Other considerations besides bandwidth are personal concerns with employees. If an employee is getting married, or going on leave, they may not be the go to choice for a project champion, even if they have high aptitude and would be great in another role.

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