Making the jump from project coordinator to project manager

Published: 27 Jul 2017

Are you a project coordinator and, if so, are you able to make the jump to project manager?

There is a clear gap between the role of project coordinator and project manager – at the heart of that gap is responsibility. If the project fails, the project manager is responsible. The coordinator may have used all the tools, built and maintained the schedule, managed the risks, assumptions, issues and dependencies log, and chased signatures for change requests, but they are still not responsible for delivery. If you are a project coordinator who is ready to make the jump, can you see an opportunity in your organisation to take on some project responsibility?

Perhaps you could start with responsibility for a deliverable, a work package or sub-project. It is important to plan your own career and to seek greater
responsibilities that are appropriate to your experience and knowledge.

If you cannot see an opportunity with your current employer to make this jump, then perhaps it’s time to make a different type of jump to an organisation that can offer this development.

I spoke to several project coordinators at recent APM events who are facing this very challenge. They have solid APM qualifications and are ready to take on the challenge of project management, but are frustrated by the lack of opportunity at their current organisations.

Another option can be a sideways move into the project management office (PMO). In the right PMO, this can be an excellent opportunity to gain more exposure to a wider range of projects. If you are a line manager, think about how you can develop your project coordinators and if you are a project coordinator, think about how you are going to make that jump.

Vince Hines is managing director at Wellingtone Project Management, an APM career development partner.

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