4

So I understand that the Project Coordinator's main duties are to schedules the project, manages contracts and vendors, manages the resources (especially in construction projects), creates most project related documents, coordinates meetings, etc...

So it looks to me that a Project Coordinator is one small step from becoming a Project Manager? am I correct, or can a Project Coordinator be at least considered for a Project Management role?

I would also like to know how respected Project Coordinators are compared to Project Managers, are they on the same level? (I'm referring the level in the Management Hierarchy).

  • 1
    This question may be useful too: pm.stackexchange.com/questions/9123/… – Willl Apr 29 '13 at 8:43
  • I did read that question before, but Brian's answer referred to a "Program Manager" as a 'She' which confused me, I don't have the ability to comment on answers (I don't know why) but I don't understand why he considers them to only be a She? – I AM L Apr 29 '13 at 8:48
  • 2
    I think he was just using that as an example. Obviously Program managers can also be male... – Willl Apr 29 '13 at 11:08
5

I would be wary about giving an absolute answer to this because the meaning of a job title can vary hugely from organisation to organisation and sector to sector. In my own sector - digital/software development - I would say that Project Coordinators normally report in to Project Managers who may, in turn, report in to Programme Managers.

In my experience Project Coordinators tend to take on more of the administrative side of project management. Some of the tasks you have described would fall into this category, others not. Either way, I think being a Project Coordinator (or any key part of the project management function) is a good way to get into project management at a more senior level.

  • Thanks for answering @Will, did you mean I would have to become a Senior before getting into PM?, or a PO has a better chance of getting into a Senior PM role in the long term? – I AM L Apr 29 '13 at 8:46
  • 2
    I wouldn't worry too much about the exact path you take - very few career paths are that linear nowadays. Try and find a role that will expose you to as much learning and experience as possible and ignore the job title. I've been a manager, an officer, a producer, a coordinator, an intern and other things besides. Now I'm a PM - the previous titles didn't seem to matter too much. – Willl Apr 29 '13 at 11:12
5

The answers to those questions depend heavily on your company/institution/hierarchy. I think we can only respond in the context of PMI (although I'd love to hear from a PRINCE practitioner or other non-PMI organization).

Work performed as a project coordinator almost certainly qualifies as job experience towards PMP certification (I'm only hedging because I'm not accountable for making that determination). In that sense, work as a project coordinator does bring you closer to Project Manager title. However the meaning of those titles depends on whether your organization is weak matrix, strong matrix, or some combination, the internal politics and history of your institution etc.

Ultimately, the title of Project Manager is awarded by your company/institution. Both my manager and I are PMP, but he is a project manager and I'm either a project coordinator or a senior cybersecurity principal analyst. On the other hand both he and his colleague are Project Managers, despite the fact that they both work on closely coordinated programs (technically not projects, but politically we can't call them programs). In our case the title is determined by politics.

To put the same idea a third way, I think your last question is the most pertinent "how do they compare in the management hierarchy?", but that question is entirely localized. "Management Hierarchy" is a term that has no meaning beyond the scope of YOUR management hierarchy. Only your management can determine whether your performance as a project coordinator qualifies you for consideration as a project manager.

4

Bluntly the relationship between the project coordinator function and that of project manager is similar to that between a secretary. The secretary has an excellent grasp on the day to day activities of the task, but has never taken responsibility for delivery.

This does not mean that the project coordinator cannot make the step to being a project manager, but it does mean that

  1. You need to be cognisant of the increased risk and responsibility and willing to bear it.
  2. You probably need to be sponsored by a person of authority

The difference between the two jobs is significant in skillsets and responsibilities. Find a mentor to assist you if you wish to make this transition. Quite often an existing project manager will be happy to help.

  • 1
    I think a Project Administrator or Program Manager would be more of a "secretary", based on my knowledge and the Project Coordinator's skill sets that I have listed in my question, a Project Coordinator has their own individual responsibilities where they do not act as a PM support or as you mentioned "secretary", calling a Project Coordinator a "secretary" is degrading that position a tiny bit, don't you agree? – I AM L May 1 '13 at 1:51
  • No, at least as defined by the PMI, a Program Manager is some who has overall responsibility for managing multiple related projects. It is senior to project management where it exists. – James McLeod Nov 6 '17 at 11:42
2

In a company without project coordinators, everything you name is part of the project manager role. So, I would say that project coordination is a step on the road to project management. If you have both project coordinators and project managers, then it would seem that project coordinators are, in a sense, assistant project managers. If you only have project coordinators, perhaps it's just the job title your company gives to project managers.

2

I would say that, rather than being about the job title, it's all about the skills you display, use day-to-day etc etc.

A lot of PM roles are very heavy on coordination, some focus on leadership etc..it all varies by organisation and industry.

I would say that a project coordinator is not yet a PM (not ultimately responsible for delivery), but it's on the path.

If you want to take that step up, a mentor is always good to help you stay on the path/avoid common pitfalls etc, but take a look at PM job adverts and identify the skills gap.

Job titles don't always matter that much (a PM can also be a delivery lead, delivery manager etc)..so don't worry about it.

1

It simply depends on the organization. If there is a project/progam manager and project/program coordinator for the same project/program then there will be difference, but if only either of the two exists, then no difference, it is just a matter of what the organization decide to label the position, the roles become exactly the same.

1

At my organization, someone was promoted from Project Coordinator to Project Manager this year, so yes.

According to the book Fast Forward MBA in Project Management (by Eric Verzuh) a typical career progression for project management is Project Expediter -> Project Coordinator -> Project Manager.

1

A Project Coordinator's role is very similar to a Project Manager but not the same. There is a very thin line between a project coordinator and a project manager. A project coordinator will do most of the things that a project manager would do but does not have (or does not need ) the authority to make decisions. The picture below describes roles and tasks of project coordinator. Once You understand it you can get answers to your question. Project coordinator is one step way from project managers in some organizations where they have both or in some company project coordinator does it all.

Project coordinator tasks

Image source: Techno-PM

0

That depends entirely on the organization.Main difference between Project Coordinator and Project Manager is the scale of responsibility.

Recently I’ve found this toolkit http://project-brief.casual.pm/ Might be in use for you or anyone who is looking information about Project Manager/Coordinator.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.