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Topics: Energy and Utilities, IT Project Management, PMO
Has anyone else had their CEO move toward eliminating project Steering Committees?
Anonymous
We've recently had a change in several leadership positions. The new execs don't have much experience with projects or participation in steering committees. However, they've quickly determined that they want to eliminate the role. They are concerned that steering committees aren't effective. Even after providing an overview of project roles there's still a desire to eliminate steering committees. Has anyone else gone down this path. What are the pros and cons that you've experienced?
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Network:1041



Are you talking about steering committees for individual projects, or a steering committee for all projects?

Without more context I would say that an element of response is contained in the following statement: "they are concerned that steering committees aren't effective".

The real question is: are they? If the answer is yes, then you need to fix the steering committees so they start to deliver the expected value, if they are not, then it is more an education matter on your CxO so they understand the risk of removing them.
Network:1395



Do charters or terms of reference exist for the steering committees? Is there a decision log reflecting the decisions made by those steering committees? Can you demonstrate evidence that the existence of the steering committees made a positive difference in the direction and oversight of the projects they were steering?

If not, then I wouldn't blame your leadership for wanting to remove them...

Kiron
Network:582



Did these execs cite any harm the steering committees may be causing, such as wasting people's time or wasting company funds? I just wonder if the execs might be eager to eliminate the steering committees as a way to reduce the level of project oversight and accountability.
Network:524



As a project manager if I did not have a steering committee to go to , I would be extremely scared. Who is going to be the decision maker? Who am I going to go to for Project Change Requests , additional funding, decisions regarding scope change, highlight of significant risks affecting my timelines, significant conflicts to my timelines etc? unless there is a formal governance of such decisions, My project is setup for failure.
The elimination of steering committees will not achieve any fruitful results. I think educating and empowering the steering committees for effective decision making is what is required
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1 reply by Wendy Ombima
Jan 11, 2019 4:09 AM
Wendy Ombima
...
Good insights. Could you lead/direct me to any resources that could help me identify how to empower and educate my steerco?

I am in an almost similar predicament, where I have one steerco overseeing multiple projects. But I need to know how to better empower them to better run the steerco.
Network:143



If you are speaking in context to an individual project, then I would say even though its unfortunate when the C-Suite level folks are ignorant about their role, it appears they need some coaching on the importance of a steering committee and how it interfaces with project success. That's a platform for them to not only get critical updates on project, but also serve as an opportunity to understand risks and where they can help. Being a executive sponsor its their responsibility to deliver on this duty rather than merely seeking updates and knowing when it would be done. The project would burn down and crash if you have no periodic steering meetings to tap into these executives as they are difficult to get hold of in first place.

Now, if you were eluding to portolio level management of projects (where these steering groups serve as intake committee to screen new project requests and evaluate go/no go based on alignment with strategic goal, budget and resources), the outcome of lac of steering level alignment would only result in frustration amongst the staff as they are now pull in on different projects without regards to their actual availability to take on further work. In short, they would be burnt out and no projects would benefit as you would encounter inaccurate estimation and often times, the tasks would be dragged on due to conflicting priorities. Secondly, all projects are derived from a business need and long term strategic vision. If all those pieces (projects) are not tied together, they are setting the business for failure as their is technically no vision for the business and thus no value proposition for any of the projects to culminate into one strategic goal.
Network:990



What Kiron said. It would be a pro IF it did not deliver any value previously. Removing it might then be the right option BUT maybe a better approach would have been to try and fix it because a functioning steering committee can be very helpful. So if it was not functioning as it was intended then there will be no real negative to it being shut down. If however is was functioning as it should the negatives will be huge since the guidance and support that a steering committee is suppose to provide is invaluable on big projects. That will now fall directly onto the team members and the time to resolve highly political issues will increase dramatically.
Network:95



This question seems to emanates from the fact that it could be an internal project, wherein one might not see a real value of a steering committee meetings.

But if you are in a serious/mission critical client funded project – one would know the real value / potential of steering committee meetings. This has been one of the most valuable meetings especially when there are many vendors/contractors working on the project.
Network:15



Dec 11, 2018 4:44 PM
Replying to Deepesh Rammoorthy, PMP®AgilePM®
...
As a project manager if I did not have a steering committee to go to , I would be extremely scared. Who is going to be the decision maker? Who am I going to go to for Project Change Requests , additional funding, decisions regarding scope change, highlight of significant risks affecting my timelines, significant conflicts to my timelines etc? unless there is a formal governance of such decisions, My project is setup for failure.
The elimination of steering committees will not achieve any fruitful results. I think educating and empowering the steering committees for effective decision making is what is required
Good insights. Could you lead/direct me to any resources that could help me identify how to empower and educate my steerco?

I am in an almost similar predicament, where I have one steerco overseeing multiple projects. But I need to know how to better empower them to better run the steerco.
Network:15



Very helpful insights.

Could you help to point to resources that would educate on how to run/manage a functional steering committee?
Network:491



We do need a gate check before boarding the flight; howsoever!

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