Is your Steering Group as good as the programme needs it to be?

Every good Steering Group is focused on delivery, has the right attendees working collaboratively to make the right decisions. Use the tools here to see how your Steering Group shapes up.

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Busting a few myths

Whilst many Steering Groups work really well, there are a few misunderstandings that often get in the way.

  • A Steering Group is a communications forum: No it isn’t. It’s purpose is to make decisions that help move the programme forward
  • Steering Groups are monthly and last 2 hours: They might be, but let the needs of the programme dictate the schedule
  • The more attendees the better: Never; go for the minimum attendees you need to make the decisions on the agenda
  • Lots of large decks of slides are needed: No, they won’t be read; only present the information that is needed, and present it clearly
  • The Programme Manager should be challenged hard: Sometimes; support is also needed – this is collaboration, not a trial.

Steering Group Self-Assessment Tool

The better the Steering Group, the more likely it is that the programme will be successful, so investing some time in getting it working well is always worthwhile.

The Steering Group Self-Assessment tool asks you to describe the programme. This data helps us to calibrate the data and provide additional future insights. Then you are asked a number of questions grouped into themes.

Some suggestions when you use the tool:

  • Flip between the data-entry and the results panels as much as you need
  • If you want to come back to the data later, simply bookmark the page in your browser. We will keep the data (which is completely anonymous) for you
  • If you want to share your data with colleagues, simply forward your saved bookmark to them
  • It’s worth considering asking every member of the Steering Group to complete the tool themselves, collate the data and decide collectively any improvements that are needed
  • Use the suggested “What Good Looks Like” in the tool to help you think about your own specific actions


We hope the Steering Group Self-Assessment helps you to build and run a great Steering Group, and we would welcome any and all feedback you have.

Hints and Tips for Programme Managers:

  • Outline clearly, the decisions you need
  • Provide the data needed to enable the decisions to be made
  • Prepare early, briefing beforehand those whose support you need
  • If you don’t know the answer – say so
  • Be polite and professional at all times
  • Don’t hide things. If a deadline is going to be missed – say so, and explain why
  • Use clear and simple language

Other things you might find useful

In addition to the Steering Group Self-Assessment tool, we have included below, a number of brief documents that you might find useful. If there are other things you would value, just ask:

  • Guide to Preparing for a Steering Group
  • Guide to the Responsibilities of some Key Attendees
  • A Sample Terms of Reference for a Steering Group



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