Project coordination refers to the day-to-day administration of a project. If project management is about setting up and supervising projects, project coordination oversees the project’s nitty-gritty details. 

It’s these details that are critical to your project’s success. Without proper coordination, projects quickly spiral out of control, leading to missed deadlines, unsatisfied stakeholders, and frustrated teams. Plus, poorly coordinated projects are more likely to be affected by:

  • Scope creep, i.e., changes or additions to your project scope. These typically lead to overworked colleagues and issues with budgeting. 
  • Team conflicts: These can happen at any time in the workplace, due to personality differences or conflicting priorities. But they’re more likely when projects lack effective coordination.
  • Budgeting issues: In extreme cases, poor coordination can result in overspending or a lack of resources. Neither will be welcome in any organization.  

With these challenges in mind, in this guide, we share five strategies for effective project coordination to keep budgets on track, projects within scope, and your teams onside. 

Yet in today’s distributed workplace, where colleagues are remote and teams work across a variety of tools, effective project coordination is impossible without the right coordinating software. This software should give you visibility over everything you need to effectively visualize, track, and budget projects — and everything else teams need to do their work. 

So, in this guide, we’ll also introduce you to Wrike, our robust, customizable platform for team and workflow collaboration. Wrike is used by the likes of Siemens Smart Infrastructure, Sony Pictures Television, Ogilvy, and many other companies

5 ways to take your project coordination skills to the next level

Open any other online guide to project coordination and they’ll take you back to the very beginning. They’ll talk you through the benefits of project coordination or the basics of project management skills, such as time management, planning, or communication skills. 

Of course, this information can be useful. But if you’re already in the midst of a project, it’s not going to help you bring that project to a successful conclusion. 

That’s why we want to provide some more robust strategies for you to deploy, so you can tackle the specific challenges you’ll face in your project coordinator role.

Here goes!

1. Closely manage your project’s scope

Scope is about what’s included in, or excluded from, a project. But scope creep is an often underestimated challenge, as it can often go unnoticed. 

To keep your project on track and on scope, try these two tactics:

  • Conduct regular project scope reviews. These reviews involve assessing the project’s current scope against the original project objectives and deliverables. This way, you can identify whether you’ve come off track and quickly take action before the project becomes derailed. 
  • Implement a robust change control process. If the scope is going to change, it should happen in a way that’s planned. Change control processes let you document and evaluate all proposed changes to scope, so you can assess their impact on the project timeline and resources and obtain approval from relevant stakeholders. 

2. Encourage open and honest communication to avoid conflict

Disagreement is natural (and sometimes welcome) in projects. But it should never turn into an all-out conflict. As a project coordinator, try these ideas to keep up team spirits:

  • Establish clear channels of communication within the team. Regular team meetings give team members an opportunity to share concerns, air conflicts, and find solutions. As a project coordinator, it’s your job to create an environment where conflicts are addressed, so they don’t affect project progress.
  • Facilitate team-building activities. It’s a cliche but try it. Activities can help team members understand each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and working styles. Plus, they can be a refreshing break from the hard work of the project.

3. Continually document costs and any changes to cost

Scope creep isn’t the only threat to your budget. Unforeseen hold-ups, unexpected resource needs, and other surprises can increase the risk of overspending. 

But this can be managed and prevented with the following:

  • Implement cost-tracking mechanisms. Regularly monitor and document project expenses so they align with the approved budget. It’s best to do this in real time, so you can take corrective action early on. 
  • Explore cost-saving opportunities through effective resource management. Resource management can involve optimizing existing resources, exploring alternatives, or negotiating more favorable contracts. All of these tasks, though, depend on you reliably tracking your expenses. 

4. Plan for risks to your project’s delivery 

In any project, snags and obstacles will arise. That’s completely normal. Your job is to minimize these disruptions by planning for any risks. 

  • Always conduct a detailed project risk assessment. This assessment should plan for any potential risks, their probability, and their potential impacts. Contingency plans are useful too, so you know what to do if projects come off the rails. 
  • Monitor your risk indicators. Risk assessments aren’t just for before the project kicks off. By continually monitoring risk indicators, you can proactively address issues. Artificial intelligence (AI) can help with this by identifying common issues. Find out more here

5. Give everyone visibility over project timelines, tasks, resources and progress

It’s not just you that needs a view of the entire project life cycle. Your whole project team needs that visibility too. 

  • Create a single source of truth for your project. This could be a project timeline or a more sophisticated workflow management system such as Wrike. What you don’t want, though, is a fragmented range of different project tools in which resources, feedback, and critical information get lost. 
  • Ensure your project progress is always up to date. With so many moving parts, it’s critical that team members have the latest information on the status of a project and its tasks. The power of real-time technology can’t be underestimated here. It ensures task dependencies happen smoothly and everything gets done on time. 

How software like Wrike helps you coordinate and deliver successful projects

wrike webpage

Integrated project management software is simply an indispensable tool for effective project coordination. Ideally, it should bring together into one system everything you need to plan, coordinate, and monitor projects, even if your teams are not in the same room. 

We designed Wrike to do exactly this. With its highly flexible, customizable structure, it’s built to work at any scale, whether you’re an enterprise or a small creative team. 

In the rest of this guide, we want to show you exactly how. We’ll also show you how teams at Walmart Canada, Electrolux, and Aerotek have used Wrike too. 

Wrike lets you comprehensively plan your project in the way that’s right for you

It will always be difficult to coordinate a poorly planned project. That’s why Wrike comes with a robust suite of project planning tools, to help you assign tasks, assess risks, and more. 

screenshot of Gantt charts in Wrike- creative teams

With Wrike, you can:

  • Prepare and schedule your project through Gantt charts and other visualizations. Wrike has the most detailed Gantt charts available, to help you set deadlines, track dependencies and milestones, and ensure every task is briefed and achievable. If you prefer working with Kanban boards or other views, Wrike has them too.
  • Customize your project so it fits your exact needs. Every project, team, and organization has its own structure and way of working. At Wrike, we respect that. Wrike is the most customizable project management software available, to fit the way you work. For instance, you can set up custom item types that are unique to your team, or use cross-tagging to see how your tasks fit cross-departmental projects.
  • Plan the resources you need and estimate costs. Ensure that projects have the resources they need from the get-go with Wrike’s resource planning. For instance, Wrike will help you calculate budgets and provide a central place for time tracking
  • Assess risk before it’s too late. Wrike provides the templates and tools you need for your initial risk assessment — and then uses AI to help you monitor project health.
  • Rely on automations to set up your workflows. Rather than manually planning every single task in a project, Wrike automates workflows for you. Our software will then auto-assign tasks and set up dependencies, right through from request to completion. 

As just one example, Aerotek, a leading US staffing and recruiting agency, has managed to cut weeks off its planning cycle thanks to Wrike. 

Before launching a campaign, Aerotek’s marketing teams huddle to discuss the business objective, strategy, and execution plan. Previously, this would end up in hundreds of emails for projects that lasted less than two months.

“We put all of this in Wrike and used it as a guide for our meetings, allowing us to consolidate a lot of conversations and have more meaningful meetings,” Matt Andrews, Marketing Campaign Manager at Aerotek, says.

“Wrike has definitely helped people feel more confident that they’re doing things the way that they should be done.”

Give everyone visibility over what they need to work at their best

A well-coordinated, successful project doesn’t rely on you alone. Everyone else needs to have access to information on project progress, resources, and communication channels. 

Wrike is the control center where you can provide your teams with everything they need to collaborate and for the project to run smoothly. Think of it like a central hub where everyone gets a unique perspective on their work. 

updated product screenshot of wrike daily dashboard

Wrike lets you:

  • Quickly assign tasks and brief team members centrally. With Wrike, you can assign tasks to colleagues in a couple of clicks. This way, everyone knows what needs to be done by when, so you can reduce conflict and maintain accountability. 
  • Give every team member a personalized work dashboard. Everyone in your organization will have different projects to work on and tasks to complete. Wrike’s dashboards give them a unique view of their unique priorities and to-do lists, without them losing sight of the bigger picture. 
  • Integrate all work tools. You’ll have various tools that you’ll be using already, such as QuickBooks, Slack, Adobe Creative Cloud, and Microsoft Office. Wrike integrates with over 400 tools, allowing you to automate processes across these apps.
  • Centralize all project feedback and resources. Whether approvals come from within your organization, from clients, or external collaborators, they can all be centralized within Wrike. It helps you keep track of project-critical information. 

Wrike’s centralized system has helped Electrolux, an appliances manufacturer employing over 50,000 people, deliver on projects and align teams. 

“It’s also time-efficient for us to have all the necessary information and material for our projects in one place,” Johan Alm, Design Coordinator at Electrolux, says about Wrike. 

“As the manager, I can assign people to every task, and it’s clear for everyone what kind of action they need to take with each project. They know when the deadline is [and] what they need to do.”

As a result of working with Wrike, Electrolux has been able to spend 30% less time on each project

Track progress, resources, and more with robust reporting 

Throughout the project, you need to check in to ensure that everything’s going smoothly. Wrike is the place to do that too, helping you assess scope, track project health, and keep an eye on your resources. 

updated product screenshot of Wrike dashboards showing okrs

With Wrike, you can:

  • Automate timelines so everyone’s on the same page. When someone finishes a piece of work, they can update the status to trigger notifications for anyone with dependent tasks, so they can get started.
  • Track costs and resources with advanced analytics. Wrike’s analytics features comes with a range of business intelligence (BI) widgets, integrations with analytics software such as Tableau and Power BI, and the option to automatically produce project reports. Plus, you can use it to forecast the success of future projects based on how your current and past projects have gone. 
  • Monitor your project progress and other metrics in real time. Wrike doesn’t just show you financial reporting, but insights into your project health too. This way, you can look for warning signs of disruption, minimize risk, and ensure everything is working as it should be.

The Continuous Improvement team at Walmart Canada, the North American retail giant, loves the reporting in Wrike.

“I really like the real-time reports,” Nicole Fakhri, Manager of Continuous Improvement, says. “I use them to describe how many projects one person’s working on, how much savings there is across all of the projects within a pipeline, or how much savings or capital money we have booked for next year.”

nicole fakhri quote

Choose Wrike to power up your project coordination

Successful project coordination depends on impeccable planning, attentive project monitoring, and keeping your teams on the same page. Wrike makes that easy all in a single platform. What’s more, Wrike is fully customizable to fit your project structures and the way you like to work. 

Try Wrike for free, and see how it fits your organization.

Related FAQs

What is the difference between project management and project coordination?

Project management is typically defined as the planning, oversight, and control of projects to meet specific goals. 

If project managers oversee the project from start to finish, project coordinators handle the day-to-day aspects of the project. This might involve more administrative tasks, such as giving status reports and tracking project budgets, while ensuring that project team members are working at their best. 

In reality, there is a lot of overlap between the responsibilities of a project coordinator and those of a project manager. In some cases, these titles are used interchangeably. 

What is the role of a project coordinator?

Project coordinators tend to manage the daily operations of a project, and they often report to a project manager. Tasks you might be expected to perform in a project coordinator job include:

  • Monitoring project statuses and ensuring teams stick to project schedules
  • Ensuring everyone has the resources they need for effective project execution
  • Organizing reports, contracts, and other key project documents
  • Maintaining alignment and keeping everyone informed of project progress
  • Using project management tools to assign tasks and set up milestones.

To perform these tasks well, project coordinators need a range of effective communication skills and problem-solving skills, alongside technical project coordination skills.