The Art + Science Behind Project Leaders and Coordinators Working Together

Seth Norburg of Caterpillar spoke at a “lightning talk” during the PMO Symposium ’17 short-format breakout session. In his session, he discussed how they split project management duties, in all projects, between what they call a Project Leader, and a Project Coordinator. This is particularly interesting for teams that have both PM’s and PC’s, and are trying to figure out how to best utilize both. In Caterpillar, they intentionally split these roles on all projects. Their logic is that, if they don’t, the Leader too often gets tied up in the project details, and the project goes off track. By engaging a Coordinator to do the “head’s down” work, the Project Leader is free to keep a “head’s up” view, ensuring the project stays on track and realizes its expected benefits. Continue reading to learn the Art + Science behind this needed relationship…

The Art

The Art + Science Behind Project Leaders and Coordinators Working TogetherThe Project Leader / Manager is responsible for the overall success of the project, and manages the “art” side. Their responsibilities include:

  • Manage project to achieve its objectives
  • Acquire resources
  • Accountable for project execution
  • Monitor project performance KPI’s
  • Identify issues and take corrective actions
  • Provide technical expertise and direction, and coaching
  • Business partner relationship management
  • Communicate to stakeholders
  • Manage conflicts and crisis

The Science

The Project Coordinator takes direction from the Project Leader, and is responsible for execution, as directed by the Leader. The Art + Science Behind Project Leaders and Coordinators Working TogetherThey are the “scientist.”

This includes:

  • Following established PMO methodology and standards
  • Facilitate project planning, and manage execution to the plan
  • Project creation and validation
  • Project analysis, management and control (critical path, risk)
  • Project report generation and distribution
  • Project planning updates and maintenance
  • Project administrative functions, including financials

In this strategy, Coordinators are typically assigned on multiple projects.  With this approach, a clear definition of roles and responsibilities is key for success.

Let’s Unite!

Contact Kolme Group to find out more about our Project and Change Management Services, please email us at PPManswers@KolmeGroup.com.

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Kim Essendrup Administrator
Partner

I help our customers because I’ve “been in their shoes,” and can share pragmatic advice about what works and what doesn’t in the world of Project & Portfolio management. I have 20+ years managing teams, projects, programs and PMO’s. I’m a certified PMP and PMI Registered Education Provider, and love to nerd out over PPM with my colleagues and clients.

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