Project Coordinator vs Project Manager: Defining Roles

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Every business project has many moving parts and a number of team members with different responsibilities and roles to complete it.

Two such roles that have very similar titles, but are actually quite different when you dig below the surface, are Project Coordinator and Project Manager.

To get to the bottom of what each entails, here is an overview of the functions each person performs within a project, and the other distinctive characteristics that set them apart.

Project management not chosen

In most organizations, project managers sit at the top of the tree when overseeing specific projects, and so this role is best suited for people with lots of experience and training to back up their credentials. .

There are indeed specific qualifications and certifications focused on project management, and with the help of a PMP certification trainingemployability in this area can be further improved.

It also leads to higher average salaries, with the average annual salary for project management specialists being just over $84,000, according to BLS figures. Meanwhile, the average senior project manager salary is over $100,000.

With a high salary comes a long list of responsibilities, and project managers are ultimately held accountable for the direction a project takes and the eventual results that are achieved. They do this by delegating tasks to team members under their charge and supervising the work of others to ensure that everything is running smoothly and that any issues are resolved rather than left unaddressed.

Proposed project coordination

The role of a project coordinator will be to organize all aspects of a project that the senior manager assigns to him.

The nature of their duties will vary greatly from company to company and from project to project. Broadly speaking, project coordinators can be asked to do everything from simple material sourcing and budget tracking to training new hires and finding efficiencies in current business processes.

Although a project manager gives direction to project coordinators, that doesn’t mean that everything they do has to be micromanaged. The best project managers will trust their coordinators to follow their best instincts and make decisions without the need for direct supervision at all times, even if the most important turning points of a project are still deferred to the expertise of the most experienced member of staff.

Salaries for project coordinators are not tracked separately, but earnings are generally lower than those for managers, although aligned with the type of compensation you expect from the organization and the industry it occupies.

Shared skills

Project management and project coordination can be considered two distinct roles, but there are many overlaps in terms of responsibilities, as well as required skills. This is why many project coordinators end up being promoted to full project management positions, either internally within their current organization or by seeking higher positions elsewhere once they have a relevant experience and training to their credit.

Multitasking and communication are two of the most important general skills which are associated with both disciplines. Project managers, in particular, have to turn many plates without carelessly dropping any, and coordinators will also be tasked with a range of different tasks, as noted.

Final Thoughts

Working as a project coordinator or project manager can be fulfilling and satisfying, as well as financially viable as a career option. And of course, the two are naturally linked to each other.

If you’re aspiring to step into either role, you’ll face stiff competition, so it’s a good idea to gain experience and seek certification.

About Byron G. Fazio

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