Steering Group

What is a steering group?

A steering group is generally made up of stakeholders within the client’s business. Steering groups are set up to provide direction to a project, programme of work or a constant organisational change.

What is the purpose of a steering group?

The steering group is put in place to maximise the value delivered by the stream of work, and to minimise and manage the risks.

It’s the group’s job to listen to the updates from the project team, to help resolve any issues and to discuss and make decisions about proposals for the future. Those proposals can include a change in direction for the project, a change in budget, risk management requests for support. The people in the steering group are usually in a position to support and remove blockers when required by the project.

How often should a steering group meeting be held?

This depends on the project and whether there is enough change to discuss but generally there should be a steering group meeting every 4 to 6 weeks. It’s important that the steering groups remains up to date with the progress of the project and that they continue to support it and that they support the plans that the project team has planned for the next 4-6 phases.

What happens in the meeting?

The meetings begin with a presentation usually by the scrum master and/or product owner. The presentation will usually cover the following items:

  • Project objective - remind people of the reasons for the project

  • Project overview - the main building blocks for the project, which have been completed and which are planned

  • Risks - details of the known risks, how they’re being managed and how their likelihood and impact has shifted since the last meeting

  • Budget - the total budget, what’s been spent, what’s remaining and where that budget is expected to put the project

  • Summary and proposals - a quick wrap up and discuss the proposals for the project (recommend to move to the next phase)

Following the presentation the group will discuss the details and ask questions. This is not meant to be a test of any sort. This is a discussion with management to describe how the project is aligning with the overall business objectives and to agree the course of action for the remaining phases.

The scrum master and product owner should see this as a good opportunity to get decisions made quickly because those people in the room should be able to provide that support.

For the members of the steering group, this meeting is a chance for them to bring themselves up to date with the progress being made by the project so that they can communicate that around the organisation.