Is that not what a steering committee is all about?  Okay, maybe I shouldn’t make it so bold for all of you who haven’t had the splendid chance to join one of these meetings in your organization.

How about I start with the diagram below and we can slowly integrate what Steering Committees have become.  Take this diagram for example:

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 8.05.02 PM
(Gartner Leader’s Toolkit, Bank XYZ)

This is an amazing depiction of the different core teams and their duties.  We have a steering committee meeting every quarter, and in that meeting we have our product leaders, development leaders, and operations leaders.  Have you figured out who or what important team is missing?  Where are our enterprise architects and our EA team?!  Well, let’s just say I have not met them face-to-face.  Precisely why I would like to show you and explain what a proper steering committee looks like.

The Project Team
This is the group that gets everything started once strategy, vision, direction, and budgets are approved.  It is important for project and product teams to attend steering committee meetings for the shear fact they need to know what they will be working on next.  This team is the first line of defense between leadership and the other teams that produce the required end results.

Enterprise Architecture CORE Team
These are key players that understand how to initiate the decisions made by the steering committee and important stakeholders.  This is where solution architects come together and attempt to tackle and define projects that need to be completed.  This core team also handles the revision of architecture principles.

Architecture Review Board
The board is an important group that is part of the initial enterprise architecture review process.  Together with the steering committee, this team recommends plans of action for the goals and directives agreed upon.  The board reviews projects and approves the approach and principle methods for the EA core team and project managers.

Executive Steering Committee
The people everyone has to listen to!  These leaders define the strategy and goals for projects.  They set priorities and help define roadmaps.  This group reviews and approves projects and provides direction.  Most of the time, when products and services are put through investment planning and goals are in place, the steering committee will approve budgets and resources.

Now that you have a high-level overview, let me explain why the words “Steering Committee” have a negative connotation where I work.  Simply put!  When you are a director of your own product, and have to respond to a team that most of the time knows nothing about what you are developing, it becomes challenging.  The basic question is, how can this committee make decisions on a product they know nothing about?  It is a love-hate relationship but a required one!  Steering committees are put in place to keep innovative teams “in check”, for lack of better words.  It gets touchy feely with one side owning the P&L and the other making the decisions that directly affect that P&L.

Let me know what your enterprise thinks about steering committees below!

Gartner Leader’s Toolkit. (2016) Bank XYZ Executive Steering Committee Charter