Steering Committee & Its Role

Steering Committee & Its Role

Project management may be challenging. Addressing changing business demands, allocating limited resources, and managing team workloads can all result in dealing with complicated project management aspects on a day-to-day basis. However, having high-level assistance and guidance can be a lifesaver. Steering committees accomplish precisely that. Project management steering committees give administrative assistance and troubleshoot issues to keep projects on schedule to achieve their objectives.

Steering Committee

Steering Committee

Steering Committee

A steering committee is an advisory body of important stakeholders overseeing and supporting a project to ensure its success. Project steering committees are also known as stakeholder boards, senior leadership teams, and project working groups. They manage projects from beginning to end, offering direction and assistance throughout the project’s lifecycle.

A steering committee’s primary concern is the organization’s direction, scope, budget, timeline, and techniques. Steering committees will meet regularly to discuss these issues to identify where they are and where they want to go to stay on track.

Project Steering Committee

Project Steering Committee

Project Steering Committee

A steering committee may also be a group working together on initiatives. In this case, steering committees assist project managers in ensuring that projects are aligned with business objectives. They identify and manage risks, maintain project quality, and track progress and timeframes. In addition, the committee can approve changes to the project scope, budget, and strategy.

A project steering committee is a part of a larger organization for project governance. Companies that plan major projects that need collaboration across departments and include multiple stakeholders gain from a steering committee that can direct project management. The committee supervises the team’s progress toward fulfilling benchmarks and goals in this role.

The committee is in charge of project management, financial analysis, and recognizing changes that influence the project’s original scope. Furthermore, the project steering committee ensures that all points of view are heard and that any problems between stakeholders or departments are resolved.

Role of a Steering Committee

A steering committee can accomplish its core goal by utilizing a range of group and individual functions. When a steering committee gives advice and guarantees that items are delivered on time and in good condition, a company may reap significant benefits from its project successes. Some of the most important group-based steering committee positions that influence a business’s and consumers’ satisfaction with a product include:

  • Providing input on the growth or development of a business or initiative.
  • Addressing concerns and offering guidance on budgeting, marketing, recruiting, and other financial issues.
  • Identifying the outcomes or objectives that the project must achieve.
  • Prioritize the steps and objectives that must be completed to meet the project’s objectives.
  • Assisting in the formulation of business-related policies, processes, and guidelines.
  • Identifying, monitoring, and eliminating potential operational risks.
  • Setting project deadlines or timelines and keeping track of progress.
  • Monitoring the final work’s quality.
  • Making plans for how a client or consumer will react to a product or service.
  • Analyzing and discussing changes that have occurred or will occur to guarantee the project’s success.
  • In the workplace, encouraging team members to collaborate.
  • Where relevant, providing further insights on business or project concerns.

Members of the steering committee generally do not work on the project directly; nevertheless, committee members may perform various tasks individually to help assure the project’s success. Therefore, individual steering committee members should understand and strive to improve the strategies used to achieve project goals, be genuinely interested in the project and its outcome, promote the project whenever possible, and maintain a broad understanding of project management concerns, in addition to attending team meetings.

Key Functions of The Steering Committee

Key Functions of The Steering Committee

A steering committee is an advisory committee made up of various stakeholders and firm officials. They assist in making choices on various initiatives, with members directly interacting with project managers. Here are some of the key functions of the Steering Committee:

  1. Advocacy

A steering committee advocates for the organization’s varied goals and programs. Remember that it is generally composed of top management and specialists.

  1. Setting strategies and goals.

Steering committees develop strategic directions for initiatives. They also provide advice and opinions on budgeting, assets, money, time, facilities, marketing, and hiring. Goals and project scope are established as part of their employment.

  1. Coming up with ways of measuring success

There are several metrics for measuring performance. The steering committee is in charge of establishing how a product’s success is measured.

  1. Monitoring

The steering committee serves as an advisory body as well as a monitoring body. It ensures that projects fulfill the necessary quality standards and monitors any changes. It also keeps track of project processes and plans, which is critical to project success. The committee also analyzes and monitors project or company hazards before devising solutions to mitigate them.

  1. Offering expert opinion

The steering committee comprises experts who provide expert opinions on various issues concerning projects or the entire business. Their involvement is generally required, especially while working on a complex project.

  1. Conflict resolution

Disagreements are normal, mainly while working on a specific project. However, to ensure that issues do not disrupt the overall project, these committees resolve disputes between stakeholders, giving them more time to focus on what is best.

  1. Problem-solving

One of the functions of any advisory body is to discover solutions to problems the organization may be experiencing. It can generate various problem-solving ideas due to the experts on the strategy committee.

  1. Decision making

Although the steering committee’s primary function is to provide counsel, it also participates in decision-making. For example, it can analyze, accept, or reject project plans or recommend revisions to the supplied plans based on the members’ feedback.

The committee also engages in role allocation because its members can appoint project managers and other professionals to complete assigned tasks.

Ways to prepare for the project steering committee meeting

Important information and documents must be communicated with all steering committee members before the planned meeting, including:

  • Meeting agenda
  • Minutes of the previous steering committee meeting
  • Project progress report from the project manager

Certain team members should be in charge of creating steering committee meeting documents and scheduling meetings. The steering committee is led by a chairperson who runs the meeting according to the agenda. They also ensure that all committee members express their viewpoints and ideas.

A basic meeting agenda would include the following:

  • Recognizing and distributing the previous steering committee meeting minutes with other committee members.
  • Conduct a thorough review of action items decided at previous sessions.
  • Analyze the project status report filed by the project manager.
  • Have a thorough discussion about any additional issues of concern or project requests.
  • Select a date, time, and location for the next steering committee meeting.
Steering committee Best Practices For Project Success

Steering committee Best Practices For Project Success

Steering committee best practices for project success

Consider the following steering committee best practices for project success, whether you hold your meeting online or in person:

  • Allow adequate time for the project team and committee members to prepare.
  • Focus on the most important project KPIs and milestones and deliver them to the committee members in a format that everyone can agree on, such as a presentation, report, or infographic.
  • Present project facts that are factual, contextual, and relevant. Share any inconsistencies or difficulties as soon as possible before they become significant issues.
  • Schedule meetings in advance and automate meeting alerts to go out a week and a day ahead.
  • Ensure comprehensive documentation of all meeting discussions and distribute it to committee members before the next meeting.
  • Maintain the project charter and refer to it whenever there is doubt about authority, accountability, or strategic direction.
Challenges for Steering Committees

Challenges for Steering Committees

Challenges for Steering Committees

Because project management steering committees are comprised of employees from various backgrounds and functions, they will almost always experience certain challenges. These are some examples:

  • Conflicting interests:As the committee includes cross-functional representatives, they will frequently have opposing ideas and interests. People think differently, which may be shown in their behavior, activities, and perspectives.
  • Slow decision-making:Team decision-making is typically slower than individual decision-making.
  • Lack of clarity in roles:Many committee members may need to know their individual or team responsibilities. A clearly defined charter for the steering committee ensures transparency and clarity about their duties in the project.

Final Thoughts

Every organization needs a Project Steering Committee to lead its transformation initiatives, beginning with a contemporary approach to project management. It may be instantly productive by initiating the process of managing project priorities. Steering committees are extremely crucial in efficient project management. They add value by keeping projects on pace, reducing risks, and resolving problems. When creating one, it is essential to evaluate the overall composition.

The steering committee plays a crucial role in project management that should be considered. The steering committee is the project’s administrator. This functionality does not exonerate the project of responsibility. On the contrary, this role necessitates that the steering committee participates in the project and not simply monitors the project group’s performance from the sidelines. This move will strain the steering committee’s multiple tasks and the time spent on the project.

Feel free to check out my discussion on this topic with Justin Buckwalter in YouTube

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