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Project coordination: Pro tips for better results

Blog: Monday Project Management Blog

Two-thirds of organizations fail to complete projects on time, and more than half go over budget, according to a survey by UK-based project management consultancy Wellingtone.

So why are all these projects failing? In most cases, the issue isn’t in the initial planning phase–it comes down to your ongoing project processes. In other words, if you want to beat out the competition and consistently deliver projects on time and on budget, you need better project coordination.

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What is project coordination? Why is it so important at work?

Project coordination is the daily work of managing your team’s projects, keeping those projects on track, and making sure everything comes together on time and on budget.

Project coordination may be the responsibility of a project coordinator, a project manager, or a team manager. It comprises:

Project coordination vs project management: what’s the difference?

Project coordination is sometimes confused with project management, but the two processes are actually pretty different.

Project management is the process of:

Project coordination is the ongoing activity of:

What is a project coordinator?

A project coordinator is the individual responsible for the end-to-end coordination, oversight and daily implementation of the project plan.

The project coordinator needs to:

What makes a great project coordinator?

We asked the experts what skills a project coordinator needs to excel in their role, and here’s what they told us:

1. An eye on the big picture

Michelle LaBrosse, the founder and CEO of Cheetah Learning, a project management training center, explains that great project coordinators are able to balance “the overall organizational vision with the project objective and the strengths plus WIIFMs (What’s In It For Me) of project team members.” That way, they keep the project on track with company goals, while still acknowledging the individual needs and differences of the project team.

2. Allowing individual freedom while sticking to the plan

On that note, Sam Cooper, a Digital Project Coordinator at UK-based digital marketing agency DM Wilbury, told us that a good project coordinator will find ways to allow people “autonomy and creative freedom,” while also ensuring that “everyone is sticking to a detailed and thorough plan.”

3. Great communication skills

Chad Lundeen, Vice-President of Real Estate at Saatva, a US-based mattress business, told us that “clear communication is the foundation of excellent project coordination.” For Lundeen, a key part of the project coordinator’s job is to “ensure everyone understands their roles, tasks, timelines, and expectations. It is essential to have regular check-ins and meetings with all stakeholders to keep everyone updated on progress and any changes.”

4. Attention to detail

Lundeen also noted that “great project coordination requires attention to detail. A project coordinator ensures that all tasks are clearly defined and timelines and budgets are adhered to.”

This focus on the nitty-gritty must be balanced with a healthy dose of realism and agility, he explains:

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How can you improve project coordination in your team?

Whether you’re a project coordinator, a PM, or a team lead with coordination responsibilities, the chances are your project coordination skills could use a boost. After all, project coordination is inherently tough as you juggle multiple priorities, competing stakeholder needs, and constant change. Here are 3 ways in which you can level up your project coordination:

1. Front-load your planning

LaBrosse cautions against jumping too quickly into starting a new project “before adequately agreeing on the project details and each person’s roles and contributions to the project.” She explains:  “It’s like the “Measure twice, cut once” adage in construction. You need to take the measure of what needs to be done and who is best to do it BEFORE jumping into “just get it done” mode.” makes it easy to visualize your projects from start to finish:

example of project roadmap in

2. Create transparent communication channels

“The most common problem teams face with projects is communication, especially when plans change midway through development,” says Cooper. “A good project coordinator will know what information needs to be shared across the different teams. An ineffective coordinator will either fail to keep people informed, or will go too far the other way and bombard teams with unnecessary information.” offers several features that can help make project communication more transparent. Here are a few suggestions:

3. Explicitly acknowledge roles and responsibilities

For Lundeen, project results depend on clearly assigned responsibilities. “ When no one is accountable for the project’s success, it can result in missed deadlines and unfinished tasks. Teams should establish clear accountability for all project tasks and deliverables to ensure everyone knows what they are responsible for and what is expected, both as a sole contributor and team member.”

To make resource planning and tracking easier, use to:

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1. What is project coordination?

Project coordination is the process of managing and organizing the day-to-day work on a specific project to achieve your goals within a set timeframe and budget.

2. What are the stages of project coordination?

A typical project coordination process might include the following stages:

3. How can I be a good project coordinator?

Great project coordinators are strategic thinkers with an eye on the details. Focus on improving your planning, communication, and time management skills. A project management software like can help you communicate clearly and transparently with the rest of your project team, spot roadblocks, and head off delays.


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