IT By: NascentHub | May 12

Implementing an IT Steering Group

When you hear the phrase “IT steering committee” you might want to run for the hills. After all, you’re a busy CIO. Not only to you have to wrangle your IT department; you have to make sure that the other executive leadership knows what and why you’re doing it, and that your team is spending time on the highest business priorities. All of that takes time, and another steering committee meeting will just take hours away from that critical work!
But wait a second.

When done right, an IT steering committee can make that work easier and take some of the burden off of you.

The key being “when done right.”

Keep reading to learn exactly what that means.

What is an IT Steering Committee?

First things first, what is an IT steering committee anyway? An IT steering committee is a group made up of key business stakeholders that meet with the sole purpose of determining IT priorities and ensuring they are aligned with bigger business goals. For instnace, when you as a CIO want to prioritize mobile data security but the CEO is more concerned about upgrading hardware, you have a problem that a steering committee could help. A focused group like this can be necessary in cases where IT and other departments have a hard time getting on the same page or where the IT department is seen as little more than a resource for putting out fires. As CIO, implementing an IT steering committee could be the best way to reinvigorate your IT department and to make sure that you are as efficient as possible.

Be Clear in Your Goals

When you’re implementing an IT steering group, it is critical that you are clear in the goals of the group from the outset. Part of your initial meeting should be outlining the committee’s goals and getting them in writing. Not every steering group will have the same goals, but it is important that the purpose of the group remains clear and is imprinted in the minds of all committee members. Without goals, meetings can wander, and members can quickly lose interest.

Include all Stakeholders

If you form an IT steering committee without including all key stakeholders, it will not be effective because those stakeholders that were not included are unlikely to follow through with committee priorities. By including executive leadership, you will be able to not only get their perspective on IT alignment but will be able to hold these stakeholders accountable when it comes to how IT is spending its time.

Keep Meetings Focused

Committee members are busy, and no one wants to spend more hours in meetings than they have to. Be sure that you keep those key goals in mind at every meeting and stay focused on the tasks at hand. You may consider using a meeting framework that keeps things moving along and gets to the point quickly so that you can make decisions and move on.

These are just a few ways that you can go about implementing an IT steering group effectively. Of course, this type of group is no small undertaking, so it is a good idea to get started soon and find out what kind of setup and schedule will work best for you particular ecosystem.