Project management

Is a good coordinator a project’s secret sauce?

Psoda blog author avatar
31 October 2017

This might sound like a stupid question but I’ve been asked in the past why was I wasting time trying to recruit project coordinators, as don’t they just do admin stuff?
Knowing how hard project coordinators work and what a skilled job it is, to say I was surprised at that comment is an understatement.
In my experience project coordinators can make or break a project and I don’t say that lightly. Like a good project manager, good coordinators make the job look easy but it’s a pivotal role that needs to be taken seriously.
When I think of a project coordinator, I think of someone who works closely with the project manager and is involved in everything from preparing action plans to helping with resource balancing and budget management.
On top of this strategic work, the coordinator is also responsible for:

  • administrative tasks like updating the schedule and various registers
  • maintaining all the project documentation and answering any project related queries
  • Liaising with customers, stakeholders and project team members
  • Monitoring progress and ensuring that key information is updated regularly
  • Become the system administrator and team trainer for the project’s software tools

Now imagine if the person doing that job just. Didn’t.
There would be no project status reports. The schedule would likely be out of date. Contractors’ timesheets would be unapproved, meaning they would be unpaid. No-one would know where the latest version of the project documents were residing. Queries would go unanswered until the project manager had a moment to respond, and given the lack of coordinator this would be a long time coming! Meetings would never start or finish on time, if they happened at all.
It’s safe to say that chaos truly would reign. That’s why, in my opinion, the project coordinator is probably the most important person on the project. So treat them kindly!

Rhona Aylward avatar
Written by Rhona Aylward
Rhona is Deputy Everything Officer at Psoda, where she does everything except code. After starting life as a microbiologist she moved into PMO leadership roles around the world before settling in New Zealand with her family.

1 Comment

  • Karen Clarke says:

    Agree wholeheartedly Rhona. I wish there were more skilled Project and programme coordinators. It would be make my job easier and far less stressful.

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