The term “project governance structure” is used to describe a framework for governing a project. The project governance structure is the project management framework that includes a number of committees and their roles with agreed responsibilities and decision-making rules.
Any changes made to a project’s scope, schedules, project charter or budget need to be documented and presented to the bodies of the project governance structure. The Project Steering Committee is one of the bodies that play an important role in planning and directing the project. Without the Committee, the project governance structure becomes inefficient and the project suffers from scope creeps, poorly-defined deliverables, insufficient budget and time overruns.
The Project Steering Committee is a decision-making body within the project governance structure that consists of top managers and decision makers who provide, review and monitor strategic direction and policy guidance to the project team and other stakeholders. The committee also provides recommendations on project approaches and participates in discussing general strategies and opportunities for project planning and implementation.
Typically, senior management, key stakeholders and high-level permanent representatives of project clients are members of the Project Steering Committee. Within the project governance structure, the members of the Committee are strategically positioned to effectively promote the goals of their respective organisations. Diversity will usually make the Steering Committee flexible and improve decision making.
Roles of the Steering Committee
In a typical project governance structure, the Project Steering Committee consists of a group of the key stakeholders (senior managers and client representatives). The committee can be assigned to the following roles:
- Checking and approving the Project Charter for accuracy and compliance with the project charter or terms of reference
- Monitoring progress against the project management plan.
- Reviewing and verifying changes made to the project charter or terms of reference
- Reviewing and approving changes made to project resource plan, schedules, scope, goals, cost estimates, etc.
- Making strategic decisions regarding the prioritization of project deliverables and approving interim deliverables.
- Reviewing and approving the project development strategy.
- Reviewing and suggesting solutions for the issues critical to project success.
- Resolving conflicts between stakeholder groups
Project governance has always been important, but it is undoubtedly rising in prominence – particularly as a means of supporting a sustainable and productive government. It is also another evaluation criterion weighted heavily on government tender responses.