Project Coordinator vs Project Expeditor

Project Coordinator vs Project Expediter infographic
Project Coordinator vs Project Expediter infographic

Project Coordinator vs Project Expeditor

Most of the projects involve several working groups that must be managed to meet schedule, communication, transportation, logistics and cost requirements. Different types of organizations give different levels of authority and responsibility to their executives. Project Manager, Project Expeditor and Project Coordinator have different roles and access to project resources. In Projectized Organizations, the project manager has full authority on the project and resources. In a similar manner, strong matrix organizations also give the project manager full authority. Therefore the strong matrix structure has a lot of the characteristics of a projectized organizational structure.

However, in a weak matrix organization or a functional organization, the project manager’s authority level is reduced.

According to the PMBOK Guide, both Project Expeditors and Project Coordinator carry project management responsibilities. The role of Project Coordinator and Project Expeditor may look very similar to many of the PMP aspirants thus, they usually misunderstand and mix up these two different roles. Sometimes they think that both of their responsibilities are the same. In this article, we will discuss each concept and clarify the difference between the expeditor and the coordinator.

Project Expeditor



As per the PMI PMBOK Guide, a project expeditor works as a staff assistant and communications coordinator. He cannot personally make or enforce decisions.
Project Expeditors usually take part in functional organizational structure and sometimes in weak matrix organizational structure.

The main function of a Project Expeditor is to communicate with stakeholders and the various parties of the project.

A project expeditor can not make the decision himself. He can provide inputs for decision making.

In large scale projects, Project Managers may have some Project Expeditors
assisting them for logistics and communication.

Project Coordinator



As per the PMI PMBOK Guide, Project coordinators have the power to make some decisions and have some authority. They report to a project manager or a higher-level manager.
A Project Coordinator has the responsibility of partially managing the project by the support of other section or department managers.

A Project Coordinator has limited authority to make the decision himself/herself.  The role of the coordinator and the Expeditor are almost the same. However, project coordinator participates in the decision-making process.

In large scaled projects, Project Managers may have some Project Coordinators
assisting them for making decisions about project management issues.

What are the Differences Between Project Expeditor and Project Coordinator?



The following are a few differences between the Project Expeditor and the Coordinator

  • The project expeditor has no authority to make decisions while the coordinator has limited authority to make decisions.
  • The project expeditor assists the project manager for logistics and communication. On the other hand, the coordinator, assist the project manager for managing and controlling the project.

What are the Similarities Between Project Expeditor and Project Coordinator?

  • Both of them can exist in strong matrix and projectized organizations.
  • Both of the carry project management responsibilities.
  • Both of them are reporting to the project manager.
  • Both of them have limited authority levels.
  • Both of them work under the project manager.
  • Both of them are supervised by the project manager

The project manager delegates responsibility for tracking and keeping activities running smoothly depending on the type of activity to be completed.

Examples

Assume that you are a project manager of a power plant construction project and there are one project expeditor and one project coordinator working for you. Their responsibility may be as follows;

Project Expeditor



  • Creates a procurement plan and purchases materials and service required to perform the tasks.
  • Communicates with suppliers for the delivery of material and services.
  • Communicates with the stakeholders and involves discussions with various stakeholders.
  • Creates a logistic plan and ensures the delivery of the goods and service according to the plan.

Project Coordinator

  • Updates the information of the project’s progress.
  • Communicates with the important stakeholders when you are away.
  • Compares the planned and the actual performance of the project and shares his recommendations to improve.
  • Involves in decision making process related to the goals of the projects.
  • Involves in decision making process to improve the quality of the output.
  • Analyzes the cost performance and recommends and shares his recommendations to improve.
  • Monitors changes in the project.
  • Ensures that the schedule is followed.

Summary



Project Manager, Project Expeditor and Project Coordinator carry project management responsibilities according to the PMBOK Guide. A lot of PMP aspirants are familiar with the role of Project Manager. However, they have limited knowledge about the roles of Project Expeditor and Project Coordinator.

Both of them are reporting the project manager. The main difference between them is their authorization level within the organization. The project coordinator partially has the project management’s authority within the organization. On the other hand, the project expeditor can only assist the project manager for logistics and communication processes.

Most of the projects need coordinators, however large and complex projects need expeditors because they have significant logistics and materials management needs.

In this article, we analyzed both roles and their importance in project management. Note that this topic is very important for the PMP Certification Exam point of view. You may encounter a question related to it. Therefore be sure to understand the difference between Project Coordinator and Project Expeditor. Here is where this article ends.If you want to share your opinion related to the topic, you can do so through the comments section in below.

External Reference

Core competencies of a successful project manager

See Also

How to Become a Project Manager

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