Project coordination generally refers to planning and managing multiple tasks simultaneously. Coordination is essential for a business that deals with two or more related projects. Projects vary based on business objectives but may include launching a new product or expanding services into new areas. A project coordinator often holds different roles and responsibilities, depending on the industry, business size, and project goal. For example, corporations might designate separate project coordinators to handle domestic and international affairs; whereas, small businesses might weave basic project coordination duties into a management role. Project coordinators can serve as decision makers or assistants to lead managers.
Project scope (e.g., integrating projects with different teams or considering alternative options) and time frame (both short term and overall deadline) represent essential features--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.
To maintain efficiency, consider designating one person or a team of people to serve as project coordinator(s). 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 a executive team assistant. For example, a project assistant could schedule meetings, prepare agendas, and assess progress with the overall goal of supporting project efficiency.
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 Project, 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.
Some projects involve people from different organizations or businesses who work together to achieve a similar goal. Continuously analyze project risks, such as if a team member is unable to obtain a permit or deliver supplies on time. Project coordination must include contingency plans that can be swiftly implemented if needed.
Project coordination stages usually include 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.
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