Recently we asked two of our top Project Coordinator Consultants their opinion on project coordination best practices, the biggest challenges they face as Project Coordinators, and more. You'll find their insight below.
Q: What education/training do you think best prepares you for a role as a Project Coordinator?
- Time Management Principles; Project Management Principles; Systems Development Project Life cycle methodologies; Interpersonal Relationship training; Organization and Writing; MS Office tools (PP, Excel, etc.)
- Bachelor's degree in a related field, such as facility management or business, at least 2-3 years of related professional experience. Key Skills: Leadership, analytical and communication skills, familiarity with various business computer software, MS Project, Excel, Word etc.
Q: What are five best practices that you would share with other Project Coordinators?
- Stay Organized. Organize emails, documents, minutes, etc. via folders, files etc.
- Take good meeting notes. Notes are useful for learning and remembering important things about a project; they are also useful in preparing minutes following team meetings.
- Identify project risks and issues and report project impact to management in a timely manner.
- Stay on top of emails and IMs and respond daily. Create a ‘To Do’ Action item list to ensure that each email is addressed. Assigned a date to each action items and follow up.
- Share your past knowledge with the team which can add value to the project.
- Plan the work by utilizing a project definition document
- Create a planning horizon and define project management procedures up front
- Manage the workplan and monitor the schedule and budget
- Ensure that the sponsor approves scope-change requests
- Identify risks up front; continue to assess potential risks throughout the project; resolve issues as quickly as possible
Q: What methods or tools do you find helpful for communicating with your team?
- Methods: Email, one on one phone calls, face to face meetings, Instant Messaging
- Tools: PowerPoint slides; Excel Spreadsheets; Word Documents, Instant Messaging screen sharing, AT&T web conferencing, Telephone conferencing
- Open meetings, emails, one on one meetings, presentations, communicate via training, use visuals, listen to your team members, use body language, act out your message, use the appropriate tone of voice, avoid unnecessary repetition, create a receptive atmosphere, be humorous, be articulate, avoid mumbling, encourage feedback, gesticulate, and be appreciative
Q: What are the biggest challenges in project coordination?
- Staying on top of multiple projects and all their moving parts on a daily basis – monitoring their status on a daily/weekly basis
- Reporting the most accurate and current status to management daily/weekly/monthly
- Misalignment between projects and their business objectives
- Late or delayed projects
- Dependency conflicts
- Execution difficulties
- Overlapping and redundant projects
- Resource conflicts
- Unrealized business value
- Diffused decision making
- No accountability
Q: Any other advice for a professional trying to break into a role as a Project Coordinator?
- Meet with Project Implementation Managers, Project Managers, etc. and learn as much as you can as soon as you can about the project(s)
- Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions. Document what you learn
- Learn to use Office tools that you are not familiar with and/or improve your existing skills (i.e. – Powerpoint, Excel)
- Initiating: Project Coordinators should gather business requirements from stakeholders at the beginning of the effort, before actual work begins. Analyze stakeholder needs, resolve conflicts, and communicate decisions to ensure you can lead the team to developing the product/service on schedule. Document your findings
- Planning: Develop documents, like detailed project plan with a work breakdown structure, assigned resources and a budget. Use the plans to obtain formal approvals from stakeholders and sponsors
- Executing: As work begins, Project Coordinators direct activities and ensure all personnel have the skills, knowledge and supplies to finish work on time. Manage risks and use technology, like Microsoft SharePoint, Jive, etc., to share information
- Monitoring and Controlling: During the monitoring and controlling part of a project, a project coordinator asks for status reports from team members and ensures that quality products and services get produced
- Closing: When a project is completed, effective project coordinators don’t just start the next project, they reflect on the completed effort. They document problems that the team overcame so that everyone can avoid making the same mistakes a second time. Project coordinators should share tips they have learned with other employees
This blog post was written by Danielle Higgins, Social Media Coordinator at Whitridge Associates with help from Molly MacNeill, Senior Staffing Specialist and two of our top IT Project Coordinator Consultants.
About Whitridge Associates
Whitridge Associates provides expert talent to a diverse group of technology companies, financial services, defense contractors and healthcare providers throughout the country. With a history of 22 plus years of unparalleled service to both our clients and consultants, Whitridge is one of the most highly regarded staffing companies in New England. Whitridge was recently recognized as an Inavero’s Best of Staffing® Client and Talent Awards winner, one of the top 100 fastest growing staffing companies in the United States and was presented with The Excellence Award from TechServe Alliance the industry’s leading trade association.
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