What Is Project Coordination and Why Is It Important?
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated August 18, 2022
Published November 5, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Project coordination skills are valuable to any career you want to pursue. It helps you better communicate, organize, and troubleshoot during the lifespan of any project. Learning the answer to "What is project coordination?" can help you be more effective in your role. In this article, we explore what project coordination means for an organization, review the difference between project coordinators and project managers, discover the benefits of project coordination, highlight the responsibilities of a project coordinator, and discuss the stages of project coordination.
What is project coordination?
If you're wondering, "What is project coordination?", it's a set of activities that involves managing the daily operations of any project. It involves managing project deadlines, completing tasks, recording meeting minutes, and supporting team members to help ensure the project runs smoothly. The purpose of project coordination is to streamline the workflow of your tasks, and ensure everyone is fulfilling their responsibilities and working efficiently towards project goals. Project coordinators are an important part of the project team and typically assist project managers and support the team members.
Project coordinators vs. project managers
Project coordinators and project managers have similar responsibilities, but they are different roles. A project coordinator assists the project manager with administrative tasks for projects. Project coordinator roles and responsibilities include ordering supplies, organizing meetings, and ensuring efficient workflows to keep everyone on schedule. They're responsible for executing specific stages of an overall project plan and are usually skilled at problem-solving, multitasking, and communicating.
Comparatively, a project manager is responsible for overseeing the entire project, including the project coordinators. Project managers set the objectives, deadlines, and overall plan for a project, and indicate the tasks required throughout its duration. They work to ensure that all aspects of a project successfully meet the predetermined objectives and satisfy all stakeholders, such as the CEO or clients.
What are the benefits of project coordination?
Effective project coordination can maximize your team's performance in the workplace and increase the success rate of projects. Here are some of the key benefits of project coordination:
Communicating areas of importance and priority
Good communication is essential for any project, and communicating areas of importance and priority help you complete tasks successfully. The project manager can outline project goals and indicate how the project relates to the company's overall strategy. Team members can ask questions they have about the project to further understand the project scope and details. Having someone liaise between the project manager and team members helps identify where people need further support to help ensure the project's success.
Increasing a project's productivity and quality
While a project manager oversees the entire project, the project coordinator is responsible for promoting increased productivity and better quality output. They organize the tasks required and allocate each task to a different team member. When everyone understands their responsibilities, they know how to work to improve their performance and contribute to overall project success. The project manager helps ensure each task gets completed effectively and that they meet the standards and needs of stakeholders.
Streamlining communication and collaboration
A project coordinator can establish methods of effective communication and collaboration between team members, the project manager, and themselves. The ability to streamline communication and collaboration helps set priorities in a project and solve problems quickly when they arise. Project coordinators understand the strengths of each team member and are likely to build a fully functioning team that's highly skilled and works well together.
Staying within the project scope and requirements
Good project coordination helps project managers and team members stay within the project scope and requirements. This includes the project budget, timeline, goals, and tasks. The project timeline displays how much time team members have for completing each stage of the project. The budget indicates the money and resources allocated to the entire project. Following the project outline helps ensure the team completes every component correctly. Project coordination can also help indicate issues or delays that may affect the progress of the project.
Project coordinators often set SMART goals or CLEAR goals to monitor progress and track milestones. SMART stands for goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-based. CLEAR stands for goals that are collaborative, limited, emotional, appreciable, and refinable.
Enhancing client feedback
Coordinating projects can improve the customer satisfaction with the company and department. In addition to keeping the project within scope and requirements, coordination activities ensure everyone knows their responsibilities and communicates effectively and efficiently. As clients can have different preferences and style guides, project coordination helps gather these requirements in an organized manner. It helps team members better understand what their expectations and responsibilities are and allows them to address any questions or concerns.
Responsibilities of a project coordinator
The daily activities of a project coordinator often involve:
overseeing administrative tasks on behalf of the project manager
ordering equipment and supplies for team members
managing project workflows and deadlines
scheduling meetings with team members, the project manager, and stakeholders
assembling project contracts, reports, and invoices
communicating with team members regarding project requirements and tasks
6 stages of project coordination
Here's a list of stages of project coordination:
1. Defining the project
Every project starts with a defining goal. This outlines the steps required throughout the project and milestones and tasks of those involved. The project manager is responsible for defining the project goal, scope, and requirements. The project coordinator's job is to execute these requirements by collaborating and supporting both the project manager's vision and the team members' responsibilities.
2. Initiating the project
The next stage is initiating the project and ensuring all client expectations are clear for your team. Project coordinators have a good understanding of the time they need for planning the successful execution of the project from start to finish. They also typically have a good understanding from the project manager of the reasons for the project, any initial delays or challenges, and the benefits of completing the project. Once the project coordinator has this information, they can properly allocate resources to planning each stage of the project.
3. Planning the project
Planning the project is one of the most important steps to ensuring successful project delivery. During this stage, project managers and project coordinators work together to align all tasks with strategic goals. They perform a SWOT analysis to analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and identify solutions to navigate the potential challenges. They also determine the specific tasks to be completed at each stage of the project and any tools team members leverage to help them better complete the tasks.
4. Executing the project
The stage of the project involving project execution is when the team completes the outlined tasks in order. Project managers help ensure that every step aligns with the project scope, timeline, and budget. They also establish efficient workflows and monitor the progress of the team throughout the project. Project coordinators ensure team members have the supplies, resources, and support they need so they can do their jobs well. Whether it's gathering feedback from stakeholders or communicating with the team, project coordinators ensure the team executes the project successfully.
5. Monitoring and controlling the project
Monitoring and controlling the project can occur at every stage of the project's lifespan. During the project execution stage, project managers and project coordinators monitor the progress of the project and the work that's completed. They review project objectives and deliverables and ensure the team meets the requirements. Monitoring and controlling the project during the execution phase helps keep the project on schedule by resolving problems as soon as they arise.
Project managers and project coordinators often use critical success factors (CSFs) and key performance indicators (KPIs) to establish measurements and benchmarks. This helps ensure no one deviates from the project requirements. Measurements and benchmarks also provide stakeholders with tangible information about the progress and success of the project during and after the launch of the project.
Related: What Is a Project Retrospective?
6. Closing the project
Closing the project is the final phase and involves the final delivery of the project. Clients receive the final product and provide approvals if they can accept it. If the project involves external people, the closing phase is when those contracts are terminated.
Most project managers and project coordinators host reflection meetings after the project completion. They provide the team members with a chance to reflect on their work and identify any successes or failures during the project. Team members may evaluate overall productivity, how quickly they identified challenges, and how well everyone collaborated. The team implements the reflections and observations that are discussed in these meetings in future projects to generate better results.
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