Project management relies on a number of stakeholders acting together to accomplish the common goals of the project. But in order to achieve success, clear communication is an absolute must. While project managers (PM) are responsible for creating an environment between team members that ensure tasks are completed on time and on budget, a project coordinator (PCr) is responsible for the tactical communication of a variety of items.
A PCr serves as the conduit for communications by:
- Recording, tracking, and chasing action items
- Composing and scheduling communications
- Building and tracking project deliverables
One of the most important communication tasks that a PCr undertakes is taking meeting notes that adequately explain what was going on in the meeting. These notes serve several purposes, including catching up members who were unable to attend the meeting, documenting the rationale behind decisions, and recording action items with respective deadlines.
Without proper notetaking and action item tracking during meetings, project meetings turn into sessions where decisions are made, but no one remembers the context of why the decisions were made and action items are not adequately recorded and tracked. Meeting notes become disjointed with multiple people taking their own notes, and there is no central recorded artifact that details what happened. Projects take longer because action items may be created but not effectively tracked and chased, allowing due dates to slip.
Tenacious, detailed notes and action items keep clients on track. For example, I worked with a client that constantly questioned the need for a PCr on the project and was reluctant to renew the role for future tasks. During a particularly long and stressful meeting, an item arose regarding a previous decision that was causing some heat on the client. Our PCr was able to pull up the last notes quietly and quickly and read what was discussed and why the decision was made. The client was visibly relieved that the documentation existed and didn’t question the value of the PCr again.
A PCr is also responsible for ensuring that correct resources, both people and equipment, are available when needed. They review individual conference rooms to identify details such as number of chairs, phone capabilities, available audiovisual (AV) equipment to provide the best experience for all. If anything goes wrong, they take the necessary steps to correct the situation. For example, we had a large meeting scheduled at a conference room for a state client that was supposed to have AV equipment available for presentation purposes. Our PCr, who was always prepared, made sure that we had a spare projector with us so the meeting could go off without a hitch.
In another meeting, a conference room that was supposed to have a conference line did not have the equipment necessary to make the call. The PCr, unable to secure another meeting space, used their personal cell phone and moved it around the room when needed to make sure that the remote attendees were able to participate.
For long meetings, PCrs also make sure that snacks such as water, candy, or lunch are available. Keeping track of the candy preferences of client project team members might not seem like a big deal, but it gives members a small incentive to show up for meetings. A number of times, clients have complimented netlogx for making sure their favorites were on hand.
When it comes to managing relationships, PCrs go beyond candy preferences. Since they act as the conduit and center of communications, an ideal PCr is personable and approachable. They develop personal relationships with project members’ schedulers. A number of times PCrs have reached out in person to the scheduler to have them create time on calendars by rescheduling other initiatives to make room.
A PCr has the ability and willingness to take on new tasks, always striving for the next level of responsibility. They often have the types of personalities that allow them to push back when necessary but accept after decisions are made. They can work independently and control their own work assignments.
For example, multiple team members on a travel project were concerned about burnout from constant travel and wanted to rotate roles on a weekly schedule during the month. They put together a plan for storing and documenting information so that no matter which meetings or tasks were happening, notes and action items were tracked in a predetermined location. This allowed whichever PCr was assigned for the week to know exactly what they had to do, and they were responsible for making sure that the approach was seamless for the PMs and the client. The PCrs created their own Friday meetings to coordinate and plan for the upcoming week and were able to constantly improve processes.
Our PCrs are all trained in the netlogx discipline and understand the methodology that we use. Both they and PMs can be confident in their abilities and training. This methodology training helps a PCr earn the trust of project managers so that there is never a concern as to which coordinator is working on a given day.
We have had meetings where the assigned PCr became ill or was away from the project, and we had to find someone at the last minute to serve in that role. As a project manager, I understand the role of PCr and how they are trained, so I was confident that whoever filled in would provide the same level of service and not miss a beat. Meetings where you hardly know that the PCr is there are a testament to how well they are trained.
Without a project coordinator, a project manager would have a hard time building a cohesive relationship with the team while at the same time being responsible for scheduling member action items and tracking finished assigned tasks.
Learn more about netlogx’ project and program management services or request a consultation to see how we can help give you the power to manage your business rather than your business managing you.
Learn what it looks like to be a project coordinator and how the role impacts a project by downloading our project coordinator guide.