What is a Steering Board, who is represented on it and what tasks does it perform?
The committee for project decisions
In an organisation, the steering board is a decision-making body for an individual project or a group of projects or programmes. DIN 69901, which describes the basics, processes, process models, methods, data, data models and terms in project management, defines a steering board as a “superordinate body to which the project manager reports and which is available to him as a decision-making and escalation body”.
In contrast to the DIN standard, which does not specify whether a steering board is responsible for a single project or for several projects, the British project management method PRINCE2 regards the steering board as the decision-making body of a single project.
The steering board – sometimes referred to as the steering committee – should represent the interests of the client, the potential users of the solutions to be developed and the suppliers of services. The steering committee is usually chaired by the client or a representative of the client.
Tasks of the Steering Board
The central tasks of the steering board are
- stakeholder management,
- as well as the monitoring of the business case
- and making decisions, e.g. on the acceptance of project results, on the continuation of a project when quality gates are reached, on the release of new project phases or on project termination.
Within a project, the steering board is the highest decision-making authority; within the overall organisation, it is subordinate to programme, portfolio or company management.
If the steering board is responsible for a group of projects or programs, it is responsible for all essential decisions in all projects. It is thus a central body in the organisational structure and represents the company management in relation to each individual project. Accordingly, it does not “only” make decisions within a project, but initiates projects in accordance with the corporate strategy, approves project applications, approves budgets, as well as plans, controls and monitors the entire project landscape.