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7 Min. Read

Project Coordinator Vs Project Manager: What’s the Difference?

Project Coordinator Vs Project Manager: What's the Difference?

When you’re running a business, project management can be a daunting task.

There is a lot to consider when tackling a project. You have to structure a team and create a detailed plan of action. You also have to put somebody in charge of the whole operation.

Two project roles that can be confused are project coordinators and project managers. If you’re going to put together a cohesive project team it’s important to understand the differences between the two roles.

So what exactly is the difference when it comes to project coordinator vs project manager? We’ll give you a breakdown of both roles and outline the similarities and the differences. So that you can put together a successful project team with confidence.

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

What Is a Project Coordinator?

What Is a Project Manager?

What Is the Difference Between a Project Coordinator and a Project Manager?

Key Takeaways

What Is a Project Coordinator?

Project coordinators are an important part of a company’s project team. Is it a role that can operate in a broad range of industries and can be integral to the success of the project at hand.

Their job is to work under a project manager to ensure that the project is completed on time and within the agreed-upon budget. A project coordinator will oversee smaller parts of the larger project. They are also responsible for a range of administrative tasks.

A project coordinator will be tasked with making sure that all aspects of the project are running smoothly and efficiently. They will liaise with various members of the project team as well as act as an intermediary between the company and the client.

They will develop a timeline as well as create a project schedule. They also have to oversee the overall progress to ensure that the goals are met on time and the project is completed successfully.

A project coordinator will take care of a number of tasks. Some of which may include things like:

  • Keeping track of the budget
  • Researching ways to reduce expenses
  • Ordering new supplies or materials
  • Keeping track of the short term and long term project goals
  • Managing the timeline of the project
  • Coordinating meetings and schedules of the project team
  • Keeping a clear line of communication between the project team and the client
  • Training new staff members
  • Make sure the paperwork is in order and up to date
  • Preparing assignments for the project team or individual project members

Being a project coordinator requires you to have a broad knowledge and skill set. Some of the most important skills to have are problem-solving, multitasking and general people skills. They will have to coordinate multiple aspects of the project and deal with both the team and the client. So being organized and articulate can be incredibly useful.

It’s essential that a project coordinator has excellent organizational and communication skills. It’s their responsibility to make sure that a project is carried out smoothly and efficiently. So you have to be self-motivated, attentive and committed.

What Is a Project Manager?

A project manager is a lead role when it comes to planning, executing, monitoring and closing out projects. They are responsible for the scope of the entire project, the project team and the resources. They also have to keep track of the project budget and the overall success or failure of the project.

There is a huge amount of responsibility that lies at the feet of a project manager. At the end of the day if the project is a failure the fault will be theirs.

Good project managers are worth their weight in gold and are essential in a wide range of industries. They share a lot of responsibilities with a project coordinator but on a much larger scale. So whereas a coordinator will oversee smaller parts of the project, the manager will be looking at the larger parts. Some of their responsibilities will include:

  • Establishing goals with clients and upper management
  • Delegating project tasks
  • Creating detailed project plans
  • Hiring freelance workers for individual projects
  • Deciding what materials and supplies are needed
  • Deciding which workers are needed when
  • Coordinating with project coordinators and other workers
  • Checking work for accuracy and quality
  • Estimating the project costs
  • Providing superiors with regular updates
  • Deciding the length of the project
  • Working on risk management and creating a safe work environment

To be an effective project manager you need to know more than just the technical aspects of working on a project. The role also needs a strategic mindset that can build and handle effective teams.

This requires good conflict resolution skills and leadership expertise. A successful project manager will be able to motivate their team, effectively prioritize and be able to solve a wide range of problems.

You will also need to be adaptable to succeed. Projects will often shift and change throughout their lifespan. So it will require you to be flexible and be able to react in the moment to any inevitable setbacks or changes.

What Is the Difference Between a Project Coordinator and a Project Manager?

Now that we’ve got a clearer understanding of what exactly a coordinator and a manager are, we can take a look at the key differences between the two roles.

A project coordinator will take care of the daily tasks needed to keep the project running smoothly and on schedule. They plan the actions of other team members to make sure that everyone is working towards the same goals and on the same timeline.

So whilst project coordinators direct other team members, it is the project manager who is ultimately responsible for the overall success of the project.

Project managers are therefore a more senior role and may work with a number of project coordinators. It’s easiest to think of the two roles as a manager and an assistant manager.

It is quite often the case that project coordinators will plan on taking up project manager roles in the future. This is because most project managers will have initially started off as project coordinators. They will have then moved up the ladder once they have gained the required experience.

While both roles have their advantages and disadvantages, project managers will often have to deal with a large amount of stress. Projects tend to have very tight and stringent deadlines and the workload involved can be huge.

It’s for this reason that successful project coordinators can be so valuable to a manager as they can help to relieve some of this stress and pressure. Working in tandem, coordinators and managers can make steps towards creating a successful project.

Key Takeaways

Consistently and successfully completing projects is fantastic for raising a company’s reputation. It can also help to build lasting business relationships.

To increase the chances of success, it’s vital to know the difference between hiring a project manager and a project coordinator.

Put simply, a project manager is responsible for the success of the entire project. Whilst a project coordinator is in charge of the minutiae of the project such as its administrative tasks.

Both roles have their similarities and differences. But what matters is that both are integral towards ensuring the overall success of the project.

One way that businesses can make their project process more streamlined is through project collaboration software such as FreshBooks.

With a wide range of project management tools available, software can help your managers and coordinators communicate and keep organized across a whole array of projects.

Are you looking for more business advice on everything from starting a new business to new business practices?


Then check out the FreshBooks Resource Hub.


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