COPIL is the abbreviation for “steering committee”. It is one of the stakeholders in the management of a project. The role of the steering committee is to ensure the smooth running of the current project and its adequacy with the objectives set by its sponsor.
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The aim of this article is to present a detailed definition of the steering committee and to offer axes of understanding on its function at the heart of the management of a project.
Definition of COPIL
The COPIL is a committee, that is to say a group of actors whose role is to represent the business expertise closest to the theme and objectives of the project. The COPIL is generally made up of expert managers. It can itself be managed by a CODIR (steering committee). Throughout the project, the role of COPIL is to guide operations based on its knowledge of the project. It intervenes at different moments of the project, commonly marked by milestones integrated into the schematic project management tools.
The actors and actresses of COPIL
Within the COPIL, it is generally the company’s expert managers who work in parallel on various projects. As members of the steering committee, their role is both representative and operational. Each manager-expert, member of COPIL, takes part in decisions concerning his own profession.
Together, the members of the steering committee are empowered to plan, analyze and decide in order to achieve project objectives and meet the requirements of the sponsor.
What is the role of COPIL?
The role of COPIL evolves during the course of the project. First of all, the steering committee appoints the stakeholders and key players in project management, i.e. the project manager and the business team.
Then, he defines the means to be implemented to ensure the good progress of the project. At any stage, the steering committee can intervene to reframe the project, with regard to the objectives set upstream. It may be, for example, mobilizing a new budget, recruiting a new person in the project team or deciding to use new tools or software if the steering committee considers that this would facilitate success. of the project.
Concretely, a steering committee can decide to postpone certain deadlines if necessary, in particular if this is justified by field requirements, on which it can argue thanks to its business expertise and the operational dimension of its profile. To do this, it must take into account the constraints of two parties, those of the client (the commissioning entity) and those of the service provider (the company in charge of implementing the project). The steering committee is responsible for making a decision that best respects all interests.
Finally, the steering committee validates each key step of the project iteratively, that is to say that each completed step leads to the start of the next. To ensure that each milestone is respected by team members, the project manager organizes regular reporting actions, in the form of operational team meetings, for example. A real link between the stakeholders, he knows how to popularize the actions carried out by the technical teams with the customer.
Subsequently, reporting to the commissioning entity can take the form of a CODIR (Management Committee). During this more or less formal meeting, the members of the COPIL present the progress of the project to the management of the client company. Generally carried out according to an agenda, the CODIR makes it possible above all to ensure that the CODIR and the COPIL share a common strategic vision in order to lead the project towards the success expected by both parties.
More broadly, the actors and actresses of COPIL form a representative committee which ensures the smooth running of the project. They can :
- Unlock additional resources or budget for the project.
- Revise the deadlines upwards or downwards.
- Redefine the scope of the project.
To guarantee the success of the project and the satisfaction of the sponsor, the steering committee must ensure a certain credibility. It is by knowing in detail the challenges of the project that he can embody the role of an impartial entity vis-à-vis its operational development. The COPIL then represents a certain authority of knowledge with the project team and all the other stakeholders.
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