Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Thoughts about a steering committee

Back from a great long weekend and ready to get up in the saddle again. I only had 34 unread mails which needs to be concidered as good after two days vacation.

I have a steering committee meeting on Monday next week which means that much of my time this week will be spend on preparations for the steering committee (SC) for the “Infrastructure-project”. We have SC-meeting approximately every second month in this project. The project is not in need of any major decision from the SC this time so it will hopefully be a short meeting to report progress and brief them about the way forward. To be honest I must say that the SC for the “Infrastructure-project” is pretty weak. The SC should be steering me but it is more or less the other way… They have the correct roles in the line-organization and are actually the correct SC but…yeah…they are bit weak.

There are a number of things that I think is important for a SC;

* They must be decisive and have the mandate to make decisions.
If not, you will have an interesting time ahead of you. The decision-making progress in the project will be painstaking slow and should be treated as a risk.

* They must follow up on the project manager.
The SC needs to follow up the work of the project manager to be able to take the responsibility for the project. Remember that it is often experienced coworkers, linemanagers or other important stakeholders that is members of a SC. Use their vast amount of experience.

* They must be interested in the project and have time to spend in the project.
How should the otherwise know what is happening in the project…

* They must come prepared to all meetings.
Do not be afraid of postponing a SC-meeting if they not have prepared them selves. Little or no use will come out of such meeting.

* The must support the project manager and the project
They should always work a ambassadors for the project and secure that the project has the correct preconditions.

Try always to work closely together with the chairman of the steering committee. He or she should always send out the invitations and the minutes for the meetings. Try also not get trapped in the “dear-pm-please-check-with-the-other-in-the-sc”-trap. If you need input from the SC you should put the question to the chairman and he or she will then contact the other members of the SC. This could otherwise be very time-consuming. An exception that confirms the rule is if you need to do some lobbying on the members in the SC…but that is a total different ballgame.

Remember that it is your responsibility and obligation to address issues with the SC to the “customer” of the project if you don’t think that that the SC is working properly.

There are also a couple of things that You as a Pm needs to think about when it comes to SC-meetings.

Please let me know your thoughts about project management or let me know if I can help you in any way...



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