6.2 Steering Groups
For large-scale developments, there needs to be some high-level group that takes responsibility for setting the goals of a project and providing funding. These are commonly known as steering groups. For some projects and some organizations, the steering group will be an existing group of managers – either the board of a company, or some regular committee of managers. Sometimes, for a particular
type of project, a special steering group will be set up. The steering group sets the primary goals of the project. These goals may change over time, as either the market changes or the reality of the project devel- opment shows different limitations or possibilities. The dialogue about goals will be within the group and with the project management of the project. The steering group controls the funding of the project. Usually this will be based on regular reporting of progress, and there will be a phased releasing of funds. Money is released to achieve agreed objectives. The cost-benefit modelling that is tackled in Chapter 7 will be important for the approval of the project and the
ongoing tracking of progress The steering group monitors the high-level risks of the project. That projects fail is a fact of life. Sometimes this is internal to the project, through bad management or because there was inherently a risk in the technology. Sometimes the reasons lie outside the project, such as a downturn in business activity or a shift in the organization’s goals. The steering group is responsible for stopping projects that are no longer viable.
Role-based organizations will usually have established management and committee structures that will take on the responsibility of steering groups. The choice of committee will depend on the size and the importance of the project. For ICANDO Chemicals, the project is of such importance that the ICANDO Chemicals board is to act as the steering committee.
Club cultures will either have the central figure acting as the steering group, or the central figure will set up a steering group of selected individuals. For ICANDO UK Retail Marketing the marketing manager sets up a team including himself, his
finance manager, his IT manager, and the business manager for retail Task-based cultures are less prone to setting up formal steering groups them- promotions. selves, but they are usually part of (or working for) a larger culture that will estab- lish a steering group.
delivering for a client will report into the steering group set up by the Metalwho client. For ICANDO’s site safety application, the research organization has a six monthly meeting of senior managers from research and from operational business units that review the progress of projects.