Project coordination -- sometimes known as project management -- requires several skills and the ability to adapt to a changing environment. Project coordinators are usually required to work with a number of individuals and require the capacity to organize and manage data and individuals. While each project is different, some tips are useful for all project coordinators.
Develop a Detailed Working Plan
Before any of the project wheels start turning, develop a detailed working plan covering each aspect of the project. Include such items as a budget, time line, list of contacts, and, if needed, emergency plans or response scenarios. Having a plan helps guide you through through any uncertain terrain while also mapping out a general direction for the project. Circulate the plan to all relevant actors so that each member of the project is on the same page.
Be Prepared to Deviate from the Plan
A detailed and clear plan is essential for project coordination, but so is the ability to improvise and to change the plan as needed. The best project coordinators follow a plan as long as it works; however, if the plan fails to direct the project towards its ends, or if it is found to be lack in one or more areas, then it's time to change plans. Project coordinators should be open to input from other team members when changing the plans and changes should be communicated to all relevant actors.
Communication is essential for project coordination -- several actors from different sections, organizations, cities, states, or even countries will often be required to work together toward some particular end. This usually requires frequent communication between parties; however, this process should not become debilitating. Appoint a minimum number of key communications officers and keep e-mails to a minimum. What takes several e-mails to work out may often be organized quickly and simply through a telephone call.
Develop Leadership Skills
Leadership skills are far-reaching and required skills will vary from project to project. Some skills, however, stand out as being commonly essential to success in project coordination -- organization, intelligence, openness and even a sense of humor help to create an atmosphere conducive to success. Coordinators aren't perfect, but they can be better or worse, and there's always room for improvement. Project coordinators should be open to feedback from others and should spend some time thinking about how their leadership skills can be developed and implemented in a more useful and effective way.
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