Making the jump from project coordinator to project manager

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This month, I’m talking to project coordinators and their line managers. 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.

Other blogs in this series:


Find out more about starting / developing a career in project management

Vince Hines

Posted by Vince Hines on 5th Jan 2016

About the Author

Vince is the Managing Director of Wellingtone, the project management recruitment, training and consulting company based in Windsor, Berkshire. The Association for Project Management and Wellingtone have formed a unique alliance to provide a career development service to the project management profession. Wellingtone is also an APM accredited training company and a Microsoft Gold Partner for Project and Portfolio Management. Vince is an expert Project Management Consultant, having worked with clients across the UK, US and Europe. He retains a number of professional qualifications including MAPM and has extensive real world experience of developing client project management maturity. As Managing Director of Wellingtone Vince has a particular insight into career development and recruitment of project management professionals and is a judge for the Annual APM Awards.

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