Project Management

Effective Steering Committee Meetings

PMI Sydney, Australia Chapter

Michel Wagner, PMP, is a program manager currently working on implementing a regional enterprise resource management (ERM) solution within Fujitsu Oceania. Prior to this role, he managed a program of work to configure and roll out a project portfolio management (PPM) tool. In 2015, he completed a regional program consisting of deploying a global SAP template across Fujitsu Southeast Asian countries (Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Philippines).

Ever felt like you are “on the plank” during your steering committee?
You are now managing a critical project and your stakeholders are CEOs, CFOs, and CTOs (the big boys and girls in town). As project or program manager, you are the captain of the ship and some of the steering committee members enjoy watching you “walk on the plank,” as if they want to throw you out to the sharks.

Sound familiar? Then, here are some tips and techniques that you could use next time.

Searching for the term “steering committee” in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) — Fifth Edition does not return any “match.” This is surprising, as such a governance body is an essential control mechanism for project managers that is commonly used by many organizations.

There is no standard definition for a steering committee. However, it is commonly understood that:

  • A steering committee is composed of key stakeholders, representing the organizational units affected by the change that a project brings.
  • The committee is often chaired by the business sponsor and has the power to establish the main directions and provide the necessary resources to carry out the projects.
  • The project or program manager presents information to the committee to:
    • Keep the key stakeholders informed;
    • Receive strategic …

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- Mark Twain