General Inquiries

Project Manager vs Project Coordinator

  • 1.  Project Manager vs Project Coordinator

    Posted 01-24-2019 14:11

    We are a large steel fabricator. We currently only have the position of project manager that deals with all aspects of a job from coordination of our work through contractual documents, cost updates etc.  We are looking at the need for adding additional project managers.  We have been evaluating our current process and realize that our project managers spend a significant amount of their time doing paperwork.  Our project managers are great at coordinate getting work done, but do not do as well at their administrative duties.  We are contemplating whether it would more beneficial to create a project coordinator position to handle some of the administrative duties of project managers and let them stick to what they are good at.  We don't want this position to just be the project manager's secretary but want to clearly define what administrative duties belong to the manger and the coordinator.

    For those of you that have this position how do you segregate these duties?  It seems like there are some administrative duties that must remain with the PM due to their knowledge of the job and interaction with the contractor.  Who does the project coordinator report too?  We don't want this position to be just an administrative assistant where a PM dumps the stuff they don't want to do, so we are concerned about them reporting to a PM.  Is this a position you use as a path to being a PM?

    Any help on what is worked and how you define each role would be helpful.

    Brian Frank, CPA,CFO
    Johnson Machine Works, Inc.
    Chariton, IA

  • 2.  RE: Project Manager vs Project Coordinator

    Posted 01-25-2019 08:23
    Our company would be very interested in the responses to this question as well!
    We are a roofing and sheet metal subcontractor and we have had this exact experience.  Our Project Managers also estimate,  They really take it from A to Z.  Most struggle with administration tasks and rely heavily on Accounting Department.  We have one job cost clerk who is constantly assisting them with admin type PM duties.

    Looking forward to hearing other's experiences.

    Lucrezia Esteban
    East Muskegon Roofing and Sheet Metal Co., Inc.
    Muskegon MI
    (231) 744-2461

  • 3.  RE: Project Manager vs Project Coordinator

    Posted 01-25-2019 09:36
    ​It is challenging to have someone support a Project Manager without the PM losing sight of what is being done in the system. We have Contract Admins that assist the PMs but mostly starting processes, monitoring them, and finalizing them. For example, the CA will start the Progress Billing and then inform the PM to enter the values. The CA will then check the input for clarity and post/interface the billing so the Subcontract Payments can be started and concluded in a similar fashion. No matter what the function it is important to keep the PM engaged in the system so the final outcomes are known to them.

    Paul West
    Director of Enterprise Applications
    The Middlesex Companies
    Orlando FL
    (407) 206-0077

  • 4.  RE: Project Manager vs Project Coordinator

    Posted 01-28-2019 11:46

    This is a good problem to have as it's a great indicator of growth. But before throwing more bodies at it to solve the problem,  I would have a hard look at productivity first, and seeing if gains can be made through the elimination of waste and streamlining of human and technology processes.    Some questions I would be asking of your company:
    • Is sound, real time information that supports good decision making available to the PM as a push button by product of normal day to day activity or...
    • Does the PM or others have to spend time in manual research, pulling together bits and pieces of information into Excel?
    • Does the PM have instant access to whatever information they need from wherever they are via phone, tablet or laptop?  Or must they come into the office or wait on others to get the information they need?
    • Are PM admin tasks like AP and Timecard approval manual paper based processes or efficient automated electronic workflow processes?
    • Are key PM processes like RFI's, Submittals, Daily Logs, Change Orders done manually in Word and Excel or are they integrated processes as part of a single financial / operations management system?
    • Could they do an RFI or a PO from their phone if need be?
    • Are QA / QC / Punchlist processes paper based or automated, so a PM knows instantly new issues opened up at the job site and who has ball in court on them?

    It's taken construction related technology providers a long time to get there, but the promise of what is possible in terms of efficiency between financial and operations processes is finally being fulfilled by software companies (like Viewpoint) who provide integrated toolsets that solve both for PM / Operations related processes as well as financial ones.

    What would it mean for your organization if you could increase the amount of business a PM can deliver at or under budget and schedule by 50%?  100%? More?  That's the real question to ask.    Simply throwing more people at it will allow you to absorb the additional revenue yes, but at the same margins you have today.    What if instead via productivity gains, and not adding more G&A expense, you could easily absorb more revenue?

    Dan Conway
    Enterprise Sales
    Viewpoint Construction Software
    Rye NH
    (603) 501-0149

  • 5.  RE: Project Manager vs Project Coordinator

    Posted 01-25-2019 12:36
    Our company utilizes project coordinators to issue subcontracts, sub change orders, follow up on outstanding documents, review invoices to verify against PO and make adjustments amongst other administrative responsibilities.  This position also takes notes in construction and operations meetings as well as participates in a monthly WIP meetings and post project reviews.  The position reports to the Director of Operations.  We try as best as we can to have a segregation of duties so that it is clear where the responsibility falls, as well as differentiation of pay scale.  There is occasional overlap when PM's get very busy.

    Dana Canaday
    Accounting Manager
    Zernco, Inc.
    Wichita KS
    (316) 775-9991

  • 6.  RE: Project Manager vs Project Coordinator

    Posted 01-25-2019 14:42

    Hi Brian,

    We have a project coordinator in our office and she is a godsend to our PMs.  It is a clerical position, but that position also needs someone very organized and can handle multiple tasks at once. 


    Our PC prepares purchase orders, schedules inspections, equipment rentals, job insurance needs, communicates change orders, collects timecards, assists with submittals, and those are just the main tasks she performs. 


    We've never envisioned our PC position to be a stepping stone to a PM position.  However, we have assumed to promote from within an Assistant PM that can eventually move into the PM position.  We envision an Assistant PM to assist with managing projects in the field and understanding the PM process, but not actually doing the clerical function of that process. 


    Hope that helps...



    Eileen M. Moran


    Moran Electrical Contracting

    12549 S. Holiday Drive

    Alsip, Illinois 60803

    Ph: 708.597.9011

    Fax: 708.597.9012