Working under the wings of Project ManagerMuhammad Zeeshan Ali, PMP, PMI-ACP
Any Organization, with a vision for excellence, will have a reasonable number of resources in their PMO Department that includes Project Coordinators. As a Project Manager, it is always good to have a Project Coordinator. The Project Coordinators not only provides the Project Manager with much more control over the proceedings but also flexibility and time to allow him/her to focus more on his/her core high priority tasks.
Project Coordinators provide an advantage by enhancing the capabilities of the Project Manager and sometimes the organizations miss the trick by assigning 1 or 2 coordinators believing they will serve the purpose of Project Manager. In my opinion, providing a Project Manager with a Coordinator means enhancing his/her capabilities exponentially and opposite to adding 2 experienced Project Managers on the same project. The Project Coordinator basically carries forward the vision of Project Manager, under whom he/she is working. Two Project Managers tend to have differences of opinion for most of the time along with differences in their working methodology.
Project Coordinator can perform a variety of tasks which can be termed as misuse of Project Manager by making him/her perform work and put in effort on tasks which can easily be done by a resource with much lesser experience. The most effective thing a Project Coordinator can be utilized on is following up on different things for feedback etc. Project Manager tends to get caught in too many things and thoughts that he/she might not perform this activity so religiously.
The other important thing a Project Coordinator can be really handy with is coordinating and guiding other team members to log their work and information in the Project Management and Team collaboration tools. Apart from that , there might be a lot of other data collection and data entry work can be performed by the Project Coordinator, which is used in different reports and important indicators. When the Project Coordinator is involved in the preparation of reports, he/she can attend important meetings on Manager’s behalf and share important feedback and information with stakeholders.
An important fact about using the Project Coordinator effectively is that he/she should be given proper authority and all stakeholders should be informed about it in order to enable him/her to perform the activities effectively. A good Project Manager should clearly and openly discuss with his/her Coordinator about the responsibilities, expectations, strategy and scope of the role expect from him/her. This helps in aligning the priorities at both ends and helps to operate much smoothly in future.
Definitely, the Project Coordinator has to go through some learning curve every time he/she is engaged with a Project Manager but it provides a very good opportunity for a Project Coordinator to have a very good opportunity to be in the Project Manager shoes and experience different styles of work and personalities. It also serves as a good opportunity for the Project Coordinator to learn the practical aspects and importance of things which the Project Manager might have learned over many years like processes, practices, tools and strategies etc.
My advice to the new Project Coordinators is to give some time to build your skills at this level before moving into the Project Manager role. One important thing is to identify not just your strengths and weaknesses but also your natural working style etc. As you gain experience, you will build around your skillset and will have your own working methodology. The best way to learn is to discuss your ideas and strategies with your manager and other seniors and learn from their feedback. It is not necessary that only the most experienced person can provide the best solution therefore you should always be natural and believe in yourself.