A project champion, also known as a project advocate, is a person who supports a team through the completion of a project. He provides moral, psychological and physical support to the team, provides them with needed resources and advocates the project's benefits and advantages to its stakeholders. However, a project champion is not a project manager or team leader. The project champion's experience, resources, strength and reputation can guarantee the success of the project.
A project champion's role is an informal one that has an almost symbolic value in some organizations. Although a project champion is assigned to a specific project, his main goal is simply to ensure stakeholder satisfaction and engagement in the project's completion. His focus is on addressing various obstacles rather than making decisions or planning the steps that will make the project move forward. Moral support is another important responsibility of a project champion. The champion listens to feedback from the project manager about the project's issues and communicates the information to the stakeholders along with suggested solutions.
The principal responsibility of the project champion is to be the main advocate for the project. He must constantly raise the project's profile, be a fierce supporter and praise its benefits to the stakeholders. Being the main project advocate, the project champion gains trust, engagement and support from management and stakeholders. He becomes the liaison between the project manager, upper management, external stakeholders and the audience of the project, which allows him to balance everyone's concerns and goals.
A project champion's position will often help him understand every person's concerns, goals and objectives, which help him maintain a harmonious relationship between the project team and its stakeholders. When required to find a solution for the project team, the project champion provides suggestions for solutions to the stakeholders who will then pick the best option and provide the appropriate resources to the champion to pass on to the team.
In big organizations, management and stakeholders often have very little interactions with the project's team members, including the project leader. Instead, the project champion is the go-to person who relays updates on the project's development and issues to upper management. The project champion will also relay messages from the stakeholders to the project team in case they have any concerns, requests in a change of direction or simply questions about the project's status and progress.