Set up the steering group

Ownership extends beyond an individual’s responsibility. Establishing a project steering committee can be an efficient way to make the different ownership roles work together about the task of owning the project throughout the project lifecycle. Further, a steering committee makes one clear interface between the project (the project manager) and the owners

The steering committee may consist of a number of different key roles e.g., chairman representing management, senior user representative and senior vendor representative (internal or external). More roles may be involved.

While the project manager is responsible for executing the project, the steering committee has ownership responsibility:

  • Ensure that the business case is and stays healthy
  • Define success criteria
  • Make key decisions regarding the project
  • Define risk tolerance
  • Approve budget, plans and  monitor status
  • Act if project performance does not meet expectations
  • Solve problems outside the control of the project manager (e.g., funding and resources)
  • Promote the project within the organisation


To be efficient, steering committees should meet on a regular basis. Meetings are scheduled well in advance to ensure availability but can be scheduled with short notice, if needed. The project manager prepares the material for the meetings and reports to the steering committee. The meetings and material for the meetings focus on the responsibilities of the steering committee, not operational project details