5 Major Lessons I’ve Learnt as a Project Coordinator

5 Major Lessons I’ve Learnt as a Project Coordinator

A woman looking at post it notes on the wall.

Share To Your Friends

I am currently a Project Coordinator at Infrastructure Ontario. I function as a Claims Coordinator on the Finch West Light Rail Transit Project. The goal of the Project is to expand transit in the Greater Toronto Area. On this project, I primarily coordinate the administration and reporting of claims arising from Contractors. A claim is simply a demand for something due or believed to be due.

As a Project Coordinator, I am also involved in other ad-hoc activities such as taking meeting minutes and managing project documents. Working on a large transit project, there is a lot to learn. I’d love to share a few of the things I have picked up along the way in my 2 years on the job:

1. Facilitation

A man in a suit and tie standing outside.

You don’t have to know all the answers

One of the biggest lessons I have learnt is that I don’t have to know all the answers to lead a meeting. My role is to facilitate the stakeholders. I prepare as much as I can before every meeting, but there is security in also knowing that my teammates are there to support and provide additional input during meetings. When I don’t have an answer to a question, I’d usually say: “That’s a great question. Bob (my teammate), what do you think about that?â€

Make sure you invite the right stakeholders to meetings to ensure that when technical questions are asked, you can direct the question to the individual most knowledgeable. In cases where I do not have all the answers, I learnt to say things like: “I do not have that information right now but I will touch base with Bob and circle back with you before the end of dayâ€. This tactic gives me some leeway to provide an answer at a later point.

2. Positive Attitude

A man in a suit and tie standing outside.

Maintain a can-do attitude

I have learnt to always keep a positive attitude towards my colleagues and my work regardless of how terrible the day is. This is not always easy, but it is a choice I’ve learnt to make each day. This has caused people to be more receptive towards my requests – even when they may be strenuous on the individual.

3. Resilience

A man in a suit and tie standing outside.

Focus on continuous improvement

Mistakes may happen. What matters more is how we react to the mistakes. I have learnt to focus less on my mistakes, and more on the areas that need improvement. Perfection is not the goal – The goal is to remain open and willing to learn and improve.

4. Ask Questions

A man in a suit and tie standing outside.

Don’t make assumptions

As a Project Coordinator, asking questions has become an essential habit. Typically, I’d try to figure it all out myself in an attempt to save myself from admitting that I do not know. However, I’ve come to realize that that does more harm than good.

Asking questions also helps me work better with my highly skilled and experienced team, because they are usually happy to explain concepts and provide support. Trying to figure things out all by myself led to wrong assumptions and frequently caused unmet expectations.

5. Deadlines

A man in a suit and tie standing outside.

When is it due?

A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. It always has a start date and an end date – so do the project tasks.

I’ve learnt how essential it is to communicate deadlines always. This helps to set the right expectations for all parties involved. It’s mostly better to over-communicate than to have gaps in understanding.

In Summary,

Project Management (PM) education and tools such as PowerPoint, Word and Excel are essential to understand the language of the PM world and navigate day to day work.

However, the most essential skill of a Coordinator in my experience is the ability to communicate effectively and manage relationships across stakeholders. Basic communication is the foundational pillar that all other skill sets rest upon.

About the Author

A man in a suit and tie standing outside.

Karo Oki is a SkillHat contributor. As a Project Coordinator at Infrastructure Ontario, Karo leads & facilitates large scale Capital projects for Government.

Join the SkillHat Tech Community

Supercharge your tech career with expert resume review, interview prep, webinars with industry experts, and tactical tools. Join our free community for career guidance, networking, and exclusive opportunities. Take the leap towards success today!

More To Explore


CAUFP and SkillHat Partner to Train Black Professionals in Tech Skills

The Canadian Association of Urban Financial Professionals (CAUFP) and SkillHat have partnered to provide Black professionals in Canada with training in Agile Project Management and Business Analysis, aiming to enhance their employability and break down systemic barriers. CAUFP covers over 70% of tuition fees for these courses, emphasizing their commitment to empowering their members.

Launch Your Startup in 9 weeks!

Get high quality tech talent & coaching necessary to navigate the challenging startup journey from ideation to launch.

Talent and coaching session