47% of projects fail, according to research by the Project Management Institute. In most cases, the issue isn’t in the initial planning phase–it comes down to your ongoing project processes.
In other words, if you want to beat out the competition and consistently deliver projects on time and on budget, you need better project coordination.Get started
What is project coordination? Why is it so important at work?
Project coordination is the daily work of managing your team’s projects, keeping those projects on track, and making sure everything comes together on time and on budget.
Project coordination may be the responsibility of a project coordinator, a project manager, or a team manager. It comprises:
- Ensuring the project is delivered on time
- Making sure all work tasks are on schedule
- Managing and tracking deliverables
- Keeping all team members updated on progress and changes
- Planning, scheduling and documenting team meetings
- Monitoring the project budget and resources
Project coordination vs project management: what’s the difference?
Project coordination is sometimes confused with project management, but the two processes are actually pretty different.
Project management is the process of planning the project, setting the goals and budget, and assigning tasks and responsibilities, and then managing the project from end-to-end.
Project coordination is a part of the overall process of project management. It refers to the ongoing activity of making sure that the project is running smoothly, checking in on tasks and deliverables, and overseeing daily activities.
What is a project coordinator?
A project coordinator is the individual responsible for the end-to-end coordination, oversight and daily implementation of the project plan. This may be a role held by the project manager, or in larger teams it may be a separate person who supports the project manager in the daily supervision and coordination of the project.
The project coordinator needs to:
- Monitor the project schedule and follow-up if any deliverables are falling behind
- Trouble-shoot issues and roadblocks
- Organize and track deliverables
- Create agendas for meetings and document and share meeting minutes
- Keep an eye on the project budget
- Make sure that everyone is aware of changes and updates to the project
- Create and communicate project status reports
- Support the project manager to confirm the overall success of the project
- Write and maintain process documentation to standardize project processes
What makes a great project coordinator?
We asked the experts what skills a project coordinator needs to excel in their role, and here’s what they told us:
1. An eye on the big picture
Michelle LaBrosse, the founder and CEO of Cheetah Learning, a project management training center, explains that great project coordinators are able to balance “the overall organizational vision with the project objective and the strengths plus WIIFMs (What’s In It For Me) of project team members.” That way, they keep the project on track with company goals, while still acknowledging the individual needs and differences of the project team.
2. Allowing individual freedom while sticking to the plan
On that note, Sam Cooper, a Digital Project Coordinator at UK-based digital marketing agency DM Wilbury, told us that a good project coordinator will find ways to allow people “autonomy and creative freedom,” while also ensuring that “everyone is sticking to a detailed and thorough plan.”
3. Great communication skills
Chad Lundeen, Vice-President of Real Estate at Saatva, a US-based mattress business, told us that “clear communication is the foundation of excellent project coordination.” For Lundeen, a key part of the project coordinator’s job is to “ensure everyone understands their roles, tasks, timelines, and expectations. It is essential to have regular check-ins and meetings with all stakeholders to keep everyone updated on progress and any changes.”
4. Attention to detail
Lundeen also noted that “great project coordination requires attention to detail. A project coordinator ensures that all tasks are clearly defined and timelines and budgets are adhered to.”
This focus on the nitty-gritty must be balanced with a healthy dose of realism and agility, he explains:“Because projects are dynamic, unexpected issues and changes will arise. A great project coordinator must be flexible, adaptable, and able to adjust plans quickly to address any updates, keeping the affected teams aware of the changes.”
Tip: Use a work management tool to keep track of your most important details in one place.Get started
How can you improve project coordination in your team?
Whether you’re a project coordinator, a PM, or a team lead with coordination responsibilities, the chances are your project coordination skills could use a boost. After all, project coordination is inherently tough as you juggle multiple priorities, competing stakeholder needs, and constant change. Here are three ways in which you can level up your project coordination:
1. Front-load your planning
LaBrosse cautions against jumping too quickly into starting a new project “before adequately agreeing on the project details and each person’s roles and contributions to the project.” She explains: “It’s like the “Measure twice, cut once” adage in construction. You need to take the measure of what needs to be done and who is best to do it BEFORE jumping into “just get it done” mode.”
monday.com makes it easy to visualize your projects from start to finish:
- Start by creating a board on monday.com and customizing it to fit your project needs.
- Add columns for tasks, deadlines, assigned team members, and any other relevant information that will help you stay organized.
- Divide your project into smaller, manageable tasks and create cards for each task on your board. This will help you see the project as a series of smaller, achievable steps.
- Assign tasks to specific team members and set deadlines for completion. This will keep everyone on the same page so that tasks are completed on time.
- Use labels to categorize tasks and make it easier to find specific items on your board. For example, you could use labels to distinguish between different project phases or priority levels.
2. Create transparent communication channels
“The most common problem teams face with projects is communication, especially when plans change midway through development,” says Cooper. “A good project coordinator will know what information needs to be shared across the different teams. An ineffective coordinator will either fail to keep people informed, or will go too far the other way and bombard teams with unnecessary information.”
monday.com offers several features that can help make project communication more transparent. Here are a few suggestions:
- Use the Updates section. monday.com has a built-in updates section for each task, which allows team members to communicate with each other in real-time. Encourage your team members to use this feature to ask and answer questions, provide updates, and discuss project-related issues. By doing so, everyone can stay informed and be aware of any changes or updates.
- Share progress updates. Using monday.com, you can easily share progress updates on individual tasks or the entire project with your team members. By sharing regular updates, everyone can stay on the same page, and no one will be left in the dark.
- Move faster with automation. monday.com offers a wide range of automation options that can help streamline communication and reduce manual work. For example, you can set up automations to notify team members when a task is completed, or when a deadline is approaching. This can help ensure that everyone is aware of project progress and can act accordingly.
3. Explicitly acknowledge roles and responsibilities
For Lundeen, project results depend on clearly assigned responsibilities. “ When no one is accountable for the project’s success, it can result in missed deadlines and unfinished tasks. Teams should establish clear accountability for all project tasks and deliverables to ensure everyone knows what they are responsible for and what is expected, both as a sole contributor and team member.”
To make resource planning and tracking easier, use monday.com to:
- Assign tasks with the assignee column, so everyone knows who is doing which task
- View the workload of each team member in the Workload Management view, to ensure that no one is overburdened
- Avoid project delays and bottlenecks with the Resource Management feature, which allows you to track the availability of resources such as equipment, software licenses, and other tools.
1. What is project coordination?
Project coordination is the process of managing and organizing the day-to-day work on a specific project to achieve your goals within a set timeframe and budget.
2. What are the stages of project coordination?
A typical project coordination process might include the following lifecycle stages:
3. How can I be a good project coordinator?
Great project coordinators are strategic thinkers with an eye on the details. Focus on improving your planning, communication, and time management skills. A project management software like monday.com can help you communicate clearly and transparently with the rest of your project team, spot roadblocks, and head off delays. You may also want to consider pursuing Project Management certification.