In addition to ongoing work over the long term, businesses often have projects with a more definite timetable with a beginning and an end. These projects need someone to work with the different people who are tasked with parts of the project, to check their status periodically, keep them moving on schedule and pull all the pieces together. This is project coordinating, typically done by a project coordinator and overseen by a project manager.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Project coordination is a project management method of assigning a person or a team to ensure that all aspects of the project are are completed in a timely manner, that snags are fixed and problems solved, and the project is finished on time and on budget.
Understanding Project Planning Basics
Project scope and project time frames (both short-term and overall deadline) represent essential features of project planning, especially as successful coordination requires long-term planning coupled with seamless execution. For example, if your business intends to open a new location, then you accurately must anticipate how long it will take to construct a store, obtain necessary permits, purchase furniture or equipment, as well as hire and train sufficient staff. Thus, a delay in receiving essential supplies can affect an entire project, such as by adding extra project costs.
Choosing Project Coordinators
To maintain efficiency, consider designating one person or project management teams to serve as project coordinators. Project coordinators must have strong problem solving skills in order to anticipate and respond to unexpected delays or situations. Furthermore, they should be able to interact and negotiate with different types of people. If a project involves working with a business in Mexico, then coordinators should realize that business customs differ in Mexico from in the United States.
If you cannot create an independent project coordinator role, then adjust the project coordinator's duties to serve as an executive team assistant. For example, a project assistant could schedule meetings, prepare agendas, and assess progress with the overall goal of supporting project efficiency.
Improving Efficiency with Software
Incorporate software programs to increase efficiency, such as to maintain project files and manage key information. For certain projects, spreadsheets, graphs or wall charts work effectively. You also utilize programs like Microsoft Excel, or even develop proprietary software. For example, you could design a program to focus on an important aspect, such as total project costs incurred or quality control issues. Make sure that project information remains easily accessible to key participants.
Analyzing Project Risks
Continuously analyze project risks that could occur, or seem to be in danger of occurring, so you're prepared if they do happen. For example, whenever permits are needed or supplies are ordered there is the potential for unforeseen delay which can affect the entire project and risk not being able to complete the project on time. Some projects involve people from different organizations or businesses working together, which requires more careful coordination because the businesses operate differently. Project coordination must include contingency plans that can be swiftly implemented if needed.
Managing the Project in Stages
Project coordination is best done in stages, and sometimes different project coordinators are involved in the various stages, including creating an overall goal, planning essential tasks, plus executing and controlling the project. Develop a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) or STEP (social, technological, economic, and political) analysis throughout different stages to evaluate project progress.
- Minerva Studio/iStock/Getty Images