Ideas, suggestions and general thoughts about project management for development.

Team Management

What is the Role of the Project Coordinator?

By definition, project managers must efficiently and effectively execute projects. Firstly, they must balance both internal and external stakeholder interests and keep both sides in sync over time. Second, they must understand the beneficiaries’ requirements, address their changing needs, and manage the dynamics of those changes. However, they must also manage those changes throughout the organization, communities, local governments, vendors, suppliers, and partners. This can increase the amount of work the project manager needs to take care of, but  an effective project manager knows that delegating project work is an strategy to focus on what is important, for large and complicated projects a project coordinator can be a useful addition to the team.

The role and responsibilities of a Project Coordinator are usually a subset of that of a Project Manager. The primary responsibility of a project coordinator is to keep the project and all related processes running smoothly. Project teams often require coordination of activities, resources, equipment, and information. To satisfy this need, the project coordinator functions in their primary role.

Typical areas of responsibilities of the project coordinator:

  • Project Coordination- Project teams often require coordination of activities, resources, equipment, and information. To satisfy this need the project coordinator functions in their primary role. Any coordination issues which cannot be resolved are elevated to the project manager.
  • Project Schedule Management- It is the project coordinator who is to be the expert on the project schedule software. If project managers attempt to fulfill this role, they will discover that it is so time-consuming that it diverts their focus from the overall management of the project. A project coordinator assumes the role of working with project team members to develop the initial project schedule, making certain that all project schedule conflicts are resolved, and then updating it routinely.
  • Project Status Reviews- While some project managers prefer to have each team leader present the status of the recent work, many insist on having the project coordinator present the status since they will be unbiased. As a result, true project problems will be surfaced in the project status review meetings. It will then be up to the project manager to work out a corrective action plan. The project coordinator follows up on the approved corrective action plan.

Any coordination issues which cannot be resolved are elevated to the project manager.  As such the project coordinator becomes the one point of contact and thus reducing the number of communication channels for the Project Manager.

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Understanding the RASCI Matrix

The RASCI Matrix is a simple tool that brings structure and clarity to assigning the roles people play within a project team. It is a simple grid system that project managers can use to clarify people’s responsibilities and ensure that everything the team needs to do is taken care of.

Using the RASCI system, the project lists major milestones and decision and clarifies who is responsible, who is accountable, who is supporting, and where appropriate, who needs to be consulted or informed.
The acronym RASCI stands for:

  • R = Responsible,
  • A = Accountable (also Approver),
  • S = Supports,
  • C = Collaborates (or Consults),
  • I = Informed.

Responsible– these people are the “doers” of the project work. They must complete the task or objective or make the decision. Only one person can be responsible. Although, others can be delegated to support in the work assigned.

Accountable (or Authorize)– this person is the “owner” of the work. He or she must sign off or approve when the task, objective or decision is complete. This person must make sure that responsibilities are assigned in the matrix for all related activities. In large development projects, there could be more than one Accountable person. Such as the Program Manager and the Project Donor, who both need to authorize any significant changes to the project.

Supports – The role of these people is to provide support to the person responsible for the task or activity. There could be more than one person with this role, they provide resources, information, or general support to help get the work done.

Consulted (or Collaborate) – these are the people who need to give input before the work can be done and signed-off on. These people are “in the loop” and whose opinions or collaboration is sought, and with whom there is two-way communication.

Informed – these people need to be kept “in the picture.” They need updates on progress or decision, but they do not need to be formally consulted, nor do they contribute directly to the task or decision. These people are kept up to date on progress, often only on completion of the task or deliverable; and with whom there is just one-way communication.

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