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SAP Insider Projects2010 - When to Fire your Steering Committee

by William Newman

October 27, 2010

First morning is over at Projects2010 and Reporting2010.  A fine overview of strategy and technology alignment by Stephanie Buscemi and Marianne Heer as the keynote kicked us off.  With so many impacts as to the Great Recession, what are project managers to do when confronted with organizational challenges?

In my session this morning on Organization Change Management (OCM) several areas of interest came up in discussion.  How to align projects to value? How to get the proper stakeholder interest?  How to move the project along when the organization is clearly not ready for the change?

Of particular note was the conversation around steering committees and getting the right "people on the bus."  In today's market the act of steering committee membership as champion and advocate is much more critical, yet organizations still treat membership to governance bodies as an "elite status club."  Ways we discussed to make sure that your steering committee is on the right bus (and it's not just a keggar bus!) include:

- align outcomes with specific members of the steering committee to champion

- independent PM reviews with the executive sponsor regarding risks the steering committee is addressing

- factual accountings for the risk that may be incurred if decisions are made late, improperly, or not at all.

As a project manager there is a finite amount of control available to move the mountain.  However using good process fitness and value check disciplines, along with clever informal communication ap proaches, can go a long way to project success.

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