Navigating through the changing world of IT can be extremely confusing, but having an effective IT management team to help develop a strategy for you helps in keeping your organization afloat. An IT steering committee is the best way to plan for the company’s IT needs while ensuring that everything still aligns with your goals.
So what exactly is an IT steering committee and how can they help with your projects? An IT steering committee is made up of stakeholders that decide on the organization’s IT priorities and anything related to the management of different IT projects. They’re mainly responsible for providing a strategic direction for the team and supporting the projects that require the opinion of IT experts.
IT Steering Committee: How They Can Help With Your Projects
Steering committees are the group of people that make all the decisions regarding the priorities of a business and how to manage these operations. These groups are common for most organizations, but having one that’s specific to information technology might be something new for the company. Here’s everything to know about IT steering committees before you make one:
What’s An IT Steering Committee?
According to a 2012 study, almost 80% of IT organizations have steering committees that help them align their IT goals and objectives with the business’ needs and priorities. The main reason why many companies have started developing steering committees specific to IT is to bring both IT experts and business stakeholders together and start making decisions that affect both aspects of running the organization.
IT steering committees also promote teamwork between the IT and business teams of the organization since they’re given the duty and authority to create strategic decisions. These committees are usually made up of departmental heads and business executives who don’t actually perform the work itself, but are responsible for ensuring that the project is completed on time, on budget, and within the best methods.
What Do They Do?
IT steering committees have different goals that depend on the needs of the organization, but their main goal is to provide strategic directions and decisions regarding IT projects. They’re also concerned with discussing how different IT services and practices apply to non-IT business needs, like cybersecurity and disaster recovery plans.
Here’s a more detailed list of what other things IT steering committees are responsible for:
- Become advocates for different IT-related projects and initiatives within the company
- Set the strategic direction of specific projects that involve information technology
- Establish the goals and scopes of different projects and provide metrics to measure the project’s success
- Evaluate project plans and decide whether to approve or reject proposed changes to various project plans
- Select the right project managers and industry experts to provide support and guidance to the project
- Monitor the project processes and plans to ensure that everything goes smoothly
- Resolve conflicts between involved parties that are working together for the project
- Come up with strategies that help solve the problems and challenges faced during the duration of the project
- Provide expert advice or input to concerns and issues related to the projects at hand or the overall growth of the business
- Create policies and regulations related to information technology within the organization
- Monitor the status of the project and make changes as necessary
- Identify and eliminate different risks that might affect the project and the entire business
How To Organize the Best IT Steering Committee
While IT steering committees greatly improve project management in an organization, there are also challenges that the company faces when establishing this kind of committee, like the difficulty of handling new people with different personalities, an increase in the number of meetings required, and the possibility of the members only being concerned about their interests.
By knowing these challenges, team leaders can make an informed decision when it comes to creating the best IT steering committee for the organization. Here are a few essential steps when organizing an effective IT steering committee:
- Picking the Right People – There are lots of factors to consider when creating an IT steering committee. Aside from their skills and expertise, it’s also important to pick someone who can work in a team. There’s also the individual’s position within the organization – concerned departments in the organization should have a representative that has the appropriate decision-making authority.
- Providing Training and Coaching – Some members of the IT steering committee may be unfamiliar with how it works, so the leader must provide appropriate training and coaching to help them ease into their duties and responsibilities.
- Discussing Everything About the Project – Regardless of an individual’s experience in serving as part of a steering committee, each of them should understand the plan, purpose, description, and scope of the project. They should receive all necessary information about the project before joining the committee or attending a meeting.
- Keeping a Manageable Size – Having too many opinions on the table makes it difficult for organizations to reach a conclusion, so it’s important to only keep a manageable size for the IT steering committee. It should only be large enough to represent the important departments of the organization but not too big that it affects everyone’s efficiency.
- Having a Liaison Between the IT Steering Committee and Project Manager – Most companies also appoint the project manager themselves as part of the IT steering community to help minimize confusion and misunderstandings about the concerns and decisions. It’s also a great way to disperse the information uniformly across all concerned parties.
Abacus: Your Partner In IT Project Management
IT steering committees are extremely useful for improving project management in an organization. If you’re looking for a reliable team of highly-experienced engineers and support personnel for all your IT needs, count on Abacus to provide IT-related services and products at the right price. We work hard in keeping businesses up and running and make operations smoother, faster, and more secure.
Call us today to find out which of our fixed-cost business support IT plans work for you.