What is a project coordinator?

Have you ever been part of a team that has no distinct leader? Plans are messy and unclear, tasks are not delegated properly, and the project falls behind schedule. This is what can happen when there is no designated project coordinator.

A project coordinator is a professional who specializes in overseeing and organizing tasks. They make sure that all the necessary components are brought together, and that everyone involved understands their role in the project.

Without a project coordinator in place, tasks can easily fall through the cracks, deadlines can be missed, and chaos can ensue. This is why it’s important to have one assigned to your team, especially if the project is large or complex.

In this article, we’ll be discussing:

Ready? Let’s dive right in.

What is a project coordinator?

Here’s an alarming statistic — over 11 percent of all resources are wasted in the workplace due to improper project management processes. That’s a lot of money and time down the drain. A project coordinator is a professional who helps to avoid this waste by ensuring that all projects are efficiently managed from beginning to end.

The project coordinator’s responsibilities vary depending on the size and scope of the project but generally include developing timelines, assigning tasks, monitoring progress, and troubleshooting issues. They work with the project team to make sure that all stakeholders are kept up to date on the project’s status and that everyone is working towards the common goal.

a project coordinator drawing a project plan

Project coordinators are an essential part of any successful business, and their skills can be used in a variety of industries. It shows when a business doesn’t have a coordinator assigned to a project, as tasks get duplicated, deadlines are missed, and confusion reigns.

If you’re looking for a career that is both challenging and rewarding, consider becoming a project coordinator. With the right skills and attitude, you can help any organization run like a well-oiled machine!

What’s the project coordinator role description?

Project coordinators have a fairly self-explanatory job title: they coordinate projects. Here’s a more specific job description, according to Project Manager:

The project coordinator will coordinate the schedule, budget, issues and risks of the project. It’s their job to make sure the project management framework is well-organized and that it runs smoothly. This can include communicating with various departments in the organization to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Let’s run through some of the project coordinator’s specific roles and responsibilities:

1. Monitor project progress

A downfall of many organizations is that they fail to monitor the progress of their projects. This is where the project coordinator comes in — they need to be constantly updating stakeholders on how the project is going, whether it’s meeting deadlines, what issues have arisen and how they’re being dealt with, etc.

The advantage of this is that it allows for early course correction if necessary, preventing projects from going off the rails. Not only that, but organizations can identify areas where they need to improve in order to facilitate better project management.

2. Maintain project documentation

A key responsibility of the project coordinator is to put steadfast documentation methods in place. Companies produce significant amounts of paperwork in the process of completing their projects — and someone needs to keep track of it all!

This includes everything from the initial project proposal and planning documents, all the way through to meeting minutes, updates on progress, and sign-off sheets. By having all of this information in one easily accessible place, it makes it easier for everyone involved in the project to stay up-to-date.

a person looking at someone holding a piece of paper

3. Facilitate communication among team members

Here’s another critical role of the project coordinator — making sure that everyone involved in the project is kept in the loop. Why is this important? Well, if key stakeholders aren’t kept in the loop about what’s going on, they can easily become frustrated and start to meddle in the project. This can result in unwanted delays and even more confusion.

A good project coordinator will establish clear lines of communication and ensure that everyone is regularly updated. This way, everyone can focus on their tasks without having to worry about what’s going on elsewhere in the project.

4. Handle conflict resolution

In any large project, there will inevitably be some disagreements and conflicts among team members. It’s the job of the project coordinator to step in and mediate these disputes, helping to find a resolution that everyone is happy with.

There’s no denying that conflict resolution is a challenging task, but it’s essential for the success of the project. Handling these situations diplomatically and effectively is one of the key skills that a good project coordinator needs.

5. Manage budgets and resources

Project coordinators are also responsible for managing the budget and resources of their projects. They’ll need to keep a close eye on how much money is being spent and make sure that it’s being used efficiently.

Likewise, coordinators need to be mindful of the team’s available resources and make sure that everyone has what they need to complete their tasks. This can involve negotiating with other departments within the organization and ensuring that everyone is working towards the same goal.

In short, the role of a project coordinator is essential for any successful project. They’re responsible for keeping things on track, ensuring that everyone is kept in the loop, and handling any conflict that may arise. If you’re looking for a challenging and rewarding career, then becoming a project coordinator may be the perfect choice for you.

How to become a project coordinator

If the role description above sounds like just your cup of tea, you may be wondering — how can you go about becoming a project coordinator?

a project coordinator working on a white table

The best way to become a project coordinator is to have experience in the field. This means having worked as a project manager, team leader, or another role within projects. It is also beneficial to have strong organizational skills and knowledge of different software programs that are often used in project management.

There are many online and offline courses that can provide you with the skills required to become a project coordinator. The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers a certification in project management, which may be beneficial for those looking to pursue a career in this field.

Once you have obtained the necessary skills and experience, it is important to network with other professionals in the project management field. You can do this by attending industry events, joining project management associations, or simply connecting with people on social media.

Here are some of the key skills your employers will be looking for when hiring a project coordinator:

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Proven experience in project management
  • Knowledge of different software programs used in project management
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Ability to work independently

There are also a few software tools you should try to gain some experience with. This isn’t crucial to landing a role, but it will certainly help you stand out from the crowd:

  • Microsoft Project
  • JIRA
  • SmartDraw
  • Evernote
  • Microsoft Visio
  • VSDX Annotator
  • Asana

It’s always worth looking into prospective companies to see what tools and software they use in their project management processes. Employers want to know that you’ll be able to catch on as quickly as possible; the less time they spend onboarding you, the more time they can dedicate to project tasks.

If you’re looking for a position as a project coordinator, it’s important to tailor your resume and cover letter to each individual job. Highlight your skills and experience that match the requirements of the role. You should also showcase any awards or certifications you may have in the project management field.

And above all, remember: a great project coordinator is someone who can wear many hats and juggle many balls at once! Be prepared to take on a variety of tasks and be flexible when it comes to maintaining a thriving workplace.

two people wearing black and working on a thigh-level table

Steps to being the best project coordinator

Landing a role as a project coordinator is one thing, but what does it take to truly excel in your role? How can you ensure that projects are delivered on time and on budget, every single time?

Here are five essential tips for becoming an exceptional project coordinator:

1. Establish a clear vision and set of objectives for each project.

It’s important to have a solid understanding of the end goal before you even start planning a project. What are the specific outcomes that need to be achieved? What are the key milestones that need to be hit along the way? Having a well-defined vision will help keep everyone on track and avoid any nasty surprises down the line.

While this is more of a managerial role, coordinators should also be actively involved in the day-to-day tasks of the project. This ensures that everyone is aware of what’s going on and that no steps are missed.

2. Make sure your team sticks to a realistic timeline.

One of the biggest challenges for any coordinator is ensuring that team members stay on track. Sometimes it seems like everyone’s got their own agenda and it’s difficult to get everyone on the same page.

The best way to overcome this is by establishing a realistic timeline and sticking to it as closely as possible. It’ll require some compromise and negotiation, but it will be worth it in the end when everything goes according to plan.

3. Use effective communication tools.

Good communication is essential for any successful project. As a coordinator, it’s your job to make sure that everyone is kept in the loop and that all relevant information is shared as needed. Don’t just rely on email — use a variety of tools such as instant messaging, video conferencing, and project management software to keep things organized and on track.

4. Be prepared for bumps in the road.

No project is ever without its hiccups — it’s simply inevitable. As a coordinator, it’s your responsibility to be prepared for these roadblocks and have a plan B in place. This could involve having backup team members ready to step in, or having alternate solutions ready to go if something goes wrong.

three people walking with their project coordinator

5. Remain calm under pressure.

Project coordinators are often the ones responsible for keeping things on track when projects start to go wrong. Keeping calm can be a challenging task, especially when deadlines are looming and the pressure is on. However, it’s essential to stay focused and not let the stress get to you.

By following these tips, you can ensure that you become an outstanding project coordinator — someone who is always able to deliver on time and on budget.

Wrap-up: Common pitfalls to avoid

To round out the article, let’s cover a few common pitfalls you’ll need to avoid as a project coordinator.

  • Power struggles: If you have big personalities on your team, it’s easy for things to turn into a power struggle. In these instances, remind the team that you’re all on the same team, and everyone needs to be working together towards the same goal.
  • Mismatched goals: Make sure you and your team are always on the same page when it comes to project goals. If not, you’ll quickly find yourself with a lot of work that isn’t getting done.
  • Not delegating: As a project coordinator, it can be tempting to try to do everything yourself. But this is a recipe for disaster. Learn to delegate tasks to your team, and trust them to get the job done.
  • Fragmented communication: If you don’t have clear and organized methods of communication, your project will quickly fall apart. Communication takes place across multiple channels, and information gets lost in the shuffle. Establish one or two clear methods of communication and stick to them.
  • Lack of planning: One of the most common project management pitfalls is lack of planning. If you don’t have a solid plan in place, your project will quickly fall apart. Planning is essential to a successful project.

There you have it — a few common pitfalls to avoid as a project coordinator. By steering clear of these traps, you’ll be well on your way to successful project management!