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Project TOOLBOX for coordinators

Have you ever been involved in a project as a coordinator? Or are you planning to take on this role in one of your next projects?

If that’s the case, this article is for you – it will give you some practical handles that help you keeping the strings of the project together and staying on top of all activities.

 

The art of coordination

Being a coordinator can sometimes be a burdensome job. Looking at the introduction to the Annotated Model Grant Agreement, the coordinator will be a key figure in a project: “The coordinator is the beneficiary which is the central contact point for the Commission/Agency and represents the consortium (towards the Commission/Agency).”

As Europa Media is building up the Knowledge Base to support not only coordinators but all parties who are or plan to be involved in R&I projects, interested people will find plenty of practical and up-to-date templates and guiding materials around this topic.

Among those, my favourite guiding material is the PROJECT TOOLBOX, because it provides within two pages only the guidance and skeleton for leading an entire project.

 

It’s not about knowing all procedures and tools by heart but knowing where they are written or stored

That is the purpose of the project toolbox and if you invest your time once in building up your own edition, it will be a powerful and central coordination system which massively helps you streamline the communication to your partners in the everyday project implementation. Here are two bits of advice to you to make the best use of this powerful system:

  1. Start even before the official launch of your project by screening thoroughly the Europa Media Project Toolbox PDF and building your own version of it.
    You will soon see that this will be a living toolbox, consisting both of background information (official and administrative guides and documentation) as well as lists and templates to support you and your partners in the everyday implementation of the project.
  2. Dedicate a space on a shared platform for your project toolbox which all consortium members can access. This can be a password protected ‘partner area’ on your project website, or any other file sharing system. By this, you provide a central exchange hub for all important tools and documents in one place. This will save you valuable time when partners ask for general or specific project advice or you are to react to enquiries from your grant coordinator.

 

Some house-keeping rules:

Keep your toolbox tidy and up-to-date at any time!

Delete old or redundant files, to lower the storage burden at data centres around the world!

Do your homework and reap the benefits

Having said this, a project toolbox is not only from my experience a very useful system that effectively channels your efforts as a coordinator, if used correctly. It is also well appreciated from the European Commission as a mid-term review by one of our Project Advisors from the EC stated once: “The communication between the partners seems to have been regular and effective, making use of a Project Management Toolbox, and the collaboration between them seems to have been good.”

So, don’t be discouraged, a project toolbox can ease your life as a coordinator to a great extent and help you become the central contact point and representative of the project consortium towards the European Commission.

Check out the Europa Media Knowledge Base for more useful project management materials and stay tuned to future Horizon 2020 Project Manager’s Series posts.