It is not always necessary that you work in a projectized or strong matrix organization where you have full authority and access to all resources. Sometimes you may have to work in different types of organizations such as a balanced matrix organization.
In such cases you may have to request the resources you require for your project.
Now what if you are working in a weak matrix organization or a functional type of organization structure?
In this case your authority is reduced further and your role may be demoted to a project coordinator or a project expediter.
You can also see project coordinators or project expediters working in a projectized or strong matrix organization for larger projects. However, in this case many times they will be reporting to the project manager or the management and their authority will be extremely limited.
These two titles have different roles and different power, and this is what I am going to explain to you in this blog post.
Please note that this topic is an important from a PMP exam point of view. You may see a question on this topic in your test, so understand it well.
Okay, let’s get started.
As per the PMBOK Guide 5th edition, “A project expediter works as staff assistant and communications coordinator. The expediter cannot personally make or enforce decisions.”
You can find project expediters in a functional type of organization structure and sometimes in a weak matrix organization.
A project expediter can communicate the progress report, be involved in discussions with various stakeholders and can provide input in the decision making process. Once the decision is made, they will communicate the same to all concerned parties.
Simply put, the role of a project expediter is to facilitate communication.
If the project expediter is reporting to the project manager in a large project, they can manage logistics and material management for the project. They will communicate with the contractors or suppliers to ensure the timely delivery of materials.
According to the PMBOK Guide 5th edition, “Project coordinators have power to make some decisions, have some authority, and report to a higher-level manager.”
Most of the time the role of the project coordinator is the same as the project expediter but they may have some authority over the decision making process.
In large projects a project manager can have a project coordinator reporting to them. This project coordinator helps in monitoring and controlling project progress.
The Difference between the Project Expediter and the Project Coordinator
The following are a few differences between the project expediter and the project coordinator:
- The project expediter has extremely low authority or does not have any kind of authority, while the project coordinator has some kind of power on project resources and the decision making process.
- In large projects the project expediter is mainly involved with logistics and communication with suppliers for the timely delivery of material. On the other hand the project coordinator helps the project manager in controlling project related issues.
It is not true that expediters exist in functional organizations and coordinators exist in matrix types of organizations. They both can exist in strong matrix and projectized organizations as well. However in this case both will be reporting to the project manager. The expediter can help him in dealing with non-technical jobs such as material management and logistics handling, and the coordinator helps them manage the project.
Here is where this blog post on the project expediter and project coordinator ends. If you have something to share, you can do so through the comments section.