What is a PRINCE2® Champion and what does that person bring to an organization?
The PRINCE2 Champion is capable of supporting an entire enterprise – from frontline delivery level to the boardroom – by demonstrating how using the PRINCE2 principles effectively will deliver value to the organization.
Such a professional must know PRINCE2 in depth and have plenty of practical experience in using the method as it is intended to be used; i.e. not mechanically but embedding its principles. Having coaching skills is a must as this helps enabling others instead of taking sole responsibility for providing solutions; organizations are not in need of yet another hero.
It’s valuable to have someone independent of a project who can be completely transparent and honest in their view on the application of sound project management practices.
Why have a PRINCE2 champion?
A PRINCE2 Champion heightens the potential for getting the full benefits from the method: for example, getting a result that delivers on the business case or knowing when to terminate a project at an early stage as it threatens to be costly and wasteful. Who else will ensure, above the project and individual goals, that the principle of Continued Business Justification is respected? And this is just one example.
Having this role balances the presence of more junior project managers and avoids people pointing the finger at PRINCE2 when a project doesn’t succeed (because it is truly not due to the method).
The conditions for success
For PRINCE2 Champions to be effective, senior management must be open to constructive feedback and be willing to act on that feedback. They have a major role to play in the change and their role changes: instead of a traditional command-and-control role, they will be coached by the PRINCE2 Champion to be “servant-leaders” to the project team to maximize the team’s chances of success.
It’s about genuinely wanting to know the truth about the way a project is progressing and whether it’s actually moving the organization forward to its strategic objectives. If it’s clear that a project is better cancelled, the company won’t be investing money in delivering pointless outputs. So, it is a good thing to cancel a project!
The qualities of a PRINCE2 Champion
To be a PRINCE2 Champion, you need to:
- Have extensive PRINCE2 experience and be the organization’s expert in tailoring the method to its context
- Understand the values and principles of PRINCE2 rather than just the mechanics
- Be a mentor, teacher and “critical friend” willing to help teams and managers develop
- Ensure people are following its principles and be a facilitator to remove any blockers
- Have an open mind
- Be aware of what’s happening around you
- Interact and connect with people to gather information you can share with stakeholders
- Seek out extra skills and training, such as coaching and facilitation
- Recognize it’s not at all about completing templates, but about the team and the stakeholders.
Making a difference
Each time a PRINCE2 Champion is coaching a project manager and that person’s team, and the team becomes more knowledgeable and more self-organizing, I can see a future for project management: all activities will be done by team members forming a cross-functional team. In an increasingly demanding business world it’s crazy for a project manager to monitor everything; therefore, coaching others to become team-facilitators rather than managers is essential.
Having a PRINCE2 Champion who is open minded about how other frameworks work and fit into the project’s lifecycle is a necessity. As an example, the guidance available in PRINCE2 Agile is especially useful for this.
A long-term benefit for the organization
An organization that advocates the PRINCE2 Champion will have PRINCE2 implementation plans that are fit for each project context. It will also have zero overhead costs from PRINCE2, as everything about it is implemented in such a way that it becomes valuable.
And as this crucial role is independent of both the organization and individual projects, it shouldn’t be measured on project success but on how well the organization has learned and improved.
Read more AXELOS Blog Posts from Steven Denier
Workshop facilitation: a key skill of the agile project manager
The 4 key factors needed to make an agile project work
Standardize your project processes with checklists
My CPD Life
The top myths about PRINCE2 and agile methods.