Build a champion program

Champions are not only passionate about what they do, but are also excited to evangelize and help their peers to learn more effective solutions. Champions will help reduce the strain on the resources of the core project team, and help drive engagement throughout the community. They are the ones who:

  • Create the surge of enthusiasm that grows adoption of improved ways of working.
  • Build a circle of influence among their teams.
  • Bring the new ways of working to life across teams.
  • Identify business challenges and possible solutions.
  • Provide feedback to the project team and sponsors.

Select this link to download a PDF version of the Dynamics 365 Champions guide.

Why are champions important?

Learning via coworkers is among the most effective and most used methods.

Learning methods and their effectiveness.

Champions will evangelize and help train their teams on the new ways of working. They build awareness, understanding, and engagement throughout the community. Use champions to:

  • Evangelize Dynamics 365 and its value across teams.
  • Help people in their team understand what's in it for them.
  • Build awareness of Dynamics 365 through informal communication channels.

Video: The importance of a champions network

How to motivate champions

How to motivate champions

What champions are saying

  • “I am the power user. I’m trying to keep it going so others will do the same. It’s about sharing ideas.”

  • “It’s a matter of finding those people who are motivated. I see it as an opportunity. Part of my job is to encourage community and knowledge sharing.”

Build a sustainable champions community

Champions help build, grow, and sustain your Dynamics 365 rollout by evangelizing and helping their peers with the new solutions. These champions:

  • Should be formally trained to increase their depth and breadth of knowledge.
  • Should be encouraged and empowered to guide, teach, and train their peers.
  • Need consistent positive reinforcement that affirms the impact of their efforts.
  • Need a clear plan upon which to execute.

5 steps to developing a champions community

  1. Set the context.
  2. Design and align the champions community to organizational objectives and vision for the Dynamics 365 solution.
  3. Identify champions and get buy-in.
  4. Build a plan with champions.
  5. Execute and iterate.

How champions fit into overall launch planning

Roadmap for using champions in launch planning.

Here are recommended ways to organize and develop a champions community:

  • Set the context and scope of the community: what, why, and how.
  • Design and align your champion strategy to organizational goals and the Dynamics 365 solution vision, and ensure it includes a community to engage and support the champions.
  • Attain sponsorship from key stakeholders and executives.
  • Develop your overall coverage plan; for example, the number of champions per office, department, team, or floor.
  • Develop your champion commitment guide.

The organize and develop champions community phase.

Meet with your stakeholders and champions

Communicate the purpose and strategy of the champions community as part of your organization-wide launch. Announce where they can be reached and how employees can learn from champions within your online and offline communications around the Dynamics 365 launch.

Provide champions with a fact sheet to provide to their manager to attain buy-in. Remember to give something back—recognize the work that champions are doing through public recognition and awards.

The inform stakeholders phase.

Identify your champions

Gain an understanding of who your stakeholders are: the champions, organizational influencers, team leaders, executive sponsors, HR (L&D or training teams). Articulate the value of the champions community to the organization to secure support from key stakeholders. More mature communities may include champion duties as part of HR commitments to recognize the work they do.

Work with these stakeholders to develop and approve the final design of the community. Inform champions of their involvement and the amount of time needed to complete commitments.

The identify champions phase.

Execute the champions community plan

Have discussions with department leads and managers across different lines of business to help locate thought leaders, technology evangelists, and others.

Use your Dynamics 365 support or help group, or Yammer network if you have one, to identify who is already helping new Dynamics 365 users and has potential to grow as a champion.

The execute champions community phase.

Involve champions in the Dynamics 365 launch

Having gone through the motions of planning, this stage is about actually executing on your plan!

Continuously meet with champions to learn how they’re doing and gather feedback about how their teams are finding the new ways of working. Throughout your organization-wide launch, encourage interested employees to learn more about the champions community, and provide them with guidance around how to get involved.

The organization-wide launch phase.

Highlight and share success

Drive awareness among champions that highlighting and sharing the Dynamics 365 solution success is a part of their role. Ensure they understand how sharing success will support them in their discussions with new users by incorporating it into any champion training.

Champions should have an open space, such as a Yammer group or Teams, to connect with one another so they can highlight these shared stories and have discussions around feedback.

The highlight and share success phase.

Video: The building blocks of a champions network

The champions program checklist

⬜ Find enthusiastic champions who can commit time and effort.

⬜ Build a chat group such as Yammer or Teams for champions to share updates and successes.

⬜ Provide materials ready to support their work on the group with teams and individuals (for example, brown bag sessions).

⬜ Ensure a regular rhythm for discussions with the champions on what’s working and what’s not.

⬜ Communicate to individuals about the champions' role and where they can be found—remember, they are not an IT support function but business representatives.

⬜ Incorporate Dynamics 365 training resources into your own internal training site.

⬜ Create a contest (such as a scavenger hunt or giveaways) between departments to encourage people to interact with the Dynamics 365 solution.

See also