Roles and Responsibilities of a Steering Committee

If you read part 1 of this series you realize a steering committee really does have a legitimate purpose (if you didn’t read it stop now and go read it).  So the purpose is really important but what are you actually supposed to do as a steering committee? A Steering Committee typically performs the following roles and fulfills these responsibilities:

  • Develops an operating charter formalizing these roles and responsibilities
  • Develop and maintains a set of project “Vision and Goals”.
  • Manages scope. The steering committee is directly responsible for determining what features, end products, or scope the project will include.  The project manager is responsible for informing the steering committee what the requested scope will cost and how long it will take to deliver and then managing project resources to deliver that scope within time and budget constraints.
  • Manages costs.  Again the steering committee is directly responsible for reviewing and approving all costs associated with the project.  The project manager is responsible for providing accurate cost information to the steering committee.
  • Arranges funding.  The steering committee is directly responsible for arranging secure permanent funding for the development and operation of the project.
  • Manages project operational and political issues and risks.  The steering committee is responsible for managing and resolving major politics and operational issues brought to them by the project manager.
  • Champions business process improvement.  During the project, invariably ways to improve portions of business are found.  It is the steering committees responsibility to act to determine the feasibility of these improvements and, as justified, make them a reality.
  • Coordinates with related projects and programs.  Projects do not exist in a vacuum.  Most will touch many other projects or programs in ways that may or may not be envisioned at the outset.  The steering committee is responsible for coordinating with these efforts.
  • Develops policy.  The steering committee reviews and officially creates all policy related to the project.  Typically, a sub-committee at the request of the steering committee does policy research.
  • Obtains support/agreement from stakeholders.  The steering committee is responsible for obtaining the support and cooperation of all stakeholders by both formal (e.g. intergovernmental agreement) and informal means.
  • Resolves obstacles.  Both the steering committee and project manager are responsible for resolving obstacles as they arise.
  • Communicates to the stakeholders.  The steering committee takes responsibility for communicating status and needs to all stakeholder agencies.

That’s it.   We hope you found this series of value and use the tools we outlined here as a starting point for your next project.

Part 1 – Purpose of a Steering Committee

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