A Steering Committee is a group formed to oversee the running of a project and provide advice. It is made up of experts or senior stakeholders – such as high-level executives or clients who will be impacted by the project.
In general, members of the Steering Committee are not directly involved in the day-to-day running of the project. Instead, they help ensure good governance by checking if the project continues according to the long-term objectives of the company.
Why Are Steering Committees Important?
The main purpose of a Steering Committee is to make sure strategy implementation matches the intentions of the Board. No matter how much effort the project team puts in, it’s of no use if they are going in the wrong direction.
Steering Committees are important because they save time and resources in the long term. From giving project budget advice to advising on company policy, the committee can support a team in numerous ways.
Inside large organisations, a Steering Committee should also minimise conflicts between departments. They are not always necessary for small projects. Yet in areas where there is a lot of departmental overlap, a Steering Committee can help advise on the bigger picture.
What Makes A Good Steering Committee?
A good Steering Committee is one that supports project delivery in a clear, cohesive way. They use varied knowledge and skills to make sure there are no gaps in strategy implementation.
Throughout the project, they should be kept up to date with their roles and responsibilities. This means setting out expectations for the project at the start, which can be followed through to the end.
During delivery, the Project Manager should attend regular meetings with the steering committee to update them on progress. It is important for the steering committee to foster a strong relationship with the project they are managing.
This also means understanding the project! A good steering committee will be genuinely passionate and invested in the results. Their investment means they should do everything they can to guide the project.
One of the main challenges of creating a strong project steering committee is handling different approaches to the running of the project. As everyone is included for their individual expertise and skills, it is likely that people working on the project will have different perspectives and priorities.
This must be handled efficiently, as otherwise the steering committee may produce contradictory advice that has a negative impact on the project. Every group of people has a range of perspectives but individual members must balance their ideas with the rest of the committee.
For this reason, it is absolutely essential that the steering committee has strong internal processes in place. They must ensure fluent communication across the committee to create a cohesive group line. This means dynamic discussion and resolution of questions.
How Can Convene Support Your Steering Committee?
Convene is an award-winning Board Portal designed to streamline your meeting processes from start-to-finish. Now available fully integrated with Microsoft Teams, our management software can make your steering committee meetings more efficient.
The comprehensive features include:
- A Document Library with role-based access to ensure your high-level documents are protected.
- A built-in Audit Trail, so you can be sure you are compliant with all regulations.
- Integrated Video Conferencing, so you can make the switch from remote to hybrid working seamlessly, whilst still viewing your Board Pack all on one screen.
- Surveys, with the option for anonymity, so you can be sure you are aware of your employees' opinions.
- Accessibility Features, including text-to-voice, which makes us the leading accessible Board Portal.
- Fully GDPR-compliant security including AES 256-bit encryption and ISO 27001 accreditation.