Projects are not done by a single person. There are many stakeholders who each have a vested interest. Project managers are the ones tasked with planning, monitoring and managing the teams, but PMs can’t manage it all alone.
Depending on the size of the organization or project, there can be dozens of employees working to make sure everything is running smoothly. For one thing, projects are notorious for creating piles of paperwork. Someone has to keep track of the paper trail.
The individual who helps out in these capacities is called the project administrator. They are one of the most important people working in the background of a project. They’re not merely paper-pushers; they’re responsible for keeping the project moving forward by making sure everyone has what they need.
What is a Project Administrator?
A project administrator is responsible for helping with many of the duties surrounding project management. As the name implies, they look after the administrative jobs associated with the project. This is a wide-ranging array of tasks, from staying in touch with contractors, scheduling appointments, procuring supplies, visiting worksites and helping to prepare reports.
Several industries hire project administrators, such as engineering, pharmaceutical, healthcare, research and more. They tend to find employment at organizations that handle more complex jobs and therefore require larger project teams. In many respects, the project administrator is the project manager’s right hand, dealing with smaller tasks, so the project manager can focus on the bigger ones.
Because of this, a project administrator position can be a stepping stone to working as a project manager. They are in lockstep with the project manager throughout the project cycle and receive almost an apprentice in the profession. That’s not to say a project administrator can just step up to project manager. It’s recommended that they understand methodology and even get certified first. But it’s great, on-the-job experience.
Primary Duties of a Project Administrator
The duties that fall under the purview of a project administrator are diverse. They range from the mundane to critical tasks that are fundamental to the project’s success. A project administrator is typically asked to do the following:
- Make phone calls
- Keep track of budgets and project expenditures
- Help to set up project meetings
- Handle the minute-taking at meetings
- Organize venues
- Assist with planning
- Keep the project calendar up to date
- Administrative duties
- Track projects
- Offer suggestions to improve efficiencies
- Maintain compliance regulations
- Assess employee performance
- Hire contractors
These duties, of course, vary depending on the organization and the project. But suffice it to say, the project administrator is taking the smaller responsibilities off the project manager’s desk, or preparing work for the project manager to do. It is a great way to get an inside look at project management and build relevant skills.
The project administrator usually reports to the project manager, but again this depends on the organization. For example, some projects have a project coordinator, project manager, assistant project manager and so forth. If this is the case, the project coordinator would likely report to the next in command, who would then move the data up the ladder to eventually get to the project manager.
Skill Set of Successful Project Administrators
Speaking of skills, what would the potential project administrator need in order to be considered for the job? Before we start, again, it’s important to note that every organization is different and their requirements vary. What follows is a general description of what most employers would be on the lookout for when hiring a project administrator.
Education is critical, especially for those who are applying with little or no experience. For the most part, employers are looking for candidates who have a degree in business. If the person looking to fill the position has worked for a long time in project management in various capacities, then it’s possible a high school diploma would be sufficient.
We mentioned certification, and having started or graduated from any one of the accredited project management certification programs would definitely play in your favor. If you’re looking for something more than an entry-level project administrator position, then certification is strongly recommended. Senior project administrators are usually well-qualified, with certification, experience and even master’s degrees in the field.
In terms of work-related skills, employers are looking for people who are well organized and are familiar with at least the basics of project management, such as planning, time management, task management, etc. The candidate should ideally have supervisory skills, be computer literate, especially with project management tools, and have strong oral and written communication skills. Professionalism and being on time, proactive and open to new things are a must. Speaking more than one language is often a valuable asset.
Project Administrator Salary
The salary of a project administrator is contingent on experience and varies wildly depending on the region. That said, the average annual pay an administrator can expect in the United States is about $66,000. The low end of the spectrum is $46,000, with $107,000 being the peak.
Sample Project Administrator Job Description
If you’re looking to fill a position as a project administrator or looking to fill that position in your own organization, the following example of a project administrator job description will help you get the skills and experience you need or hire the person who has those requirements.
Wanted: Project Administrator
- Scheduling meetings and recording minutes
- Breaking down final deliverable into tasks and timeframes
- Creating and updating workflows
We are seeking a motivated self-starter for a project administrator position in our company. You will be responsible, among other things, for coordinating project activities, maintaining and updating the project schedule, managing assignments, monitoring progress and communicating to the project team.
The project administrator will report to the project manager and assist with preparing action plans, analyzing risk and managing resources. You will work closely with the project coordinator and the project team, so strong communications skills are a must. Your mission is to help the project meet quality standards and deliver on time and within budget.
- Help the project manager in administrative duties and processes
- Schedule meetings and keep minutes
- Breakdown project into doable tasks and estimate duration
- Assist with planning, from start to finish of the project
- Prepare and distribute project materials
- Implement policies and procedures
- Create weekly workflow
- Order resources
- Track expenses and work on budget forecast
- Monitor progress
- Alert the project manager to issues as they arise
- Report on team and project performance
- Act as point of contact for the project team and facilitate communications
- Assess project risk
- Calculate project metrics, such as quality, costs, health, etc.
- Supervise and delegate tasks to project assistants
- Collaborate on stakeholder presentations
- Foster positive relationships with stakeholders
Requirements and Qualifications
- Associate or bachelor’s degree required
- Master’s degree preferred
- Two years of related experience
- Knowledge or project management, flowcharts, technical documentation, etc.
- Strong leadership skills
- Team player
- Organized and focused
- Computer literate
- Certifications a plus
How ProjectManager Helps Project Administrators
Now you know that a project administrator is doing much of the busy work that helps lead to a successful project end. They have duties that pertain to every phase of a project. Mostly, they need to be organized and keep the project on track. ProjectManager is a fantastic option to help teams and projects stay organized.
Track Your Projects with Dashboards
The great thing about our cloud-based software is that everyone on the team can use it. As teams complete tasks and the projects move along, project administrators can make data-driven decisions using our project dashboards. For project administrators, this is a crucial tool to monitor the project and catch any irregularities before they develop into problems that might sidetrack the project.
Gantt Charts Keep Your Project on Track
Planning a project is the first hurdle one must clear, and it will impact the rest of the project—so you have to do it right. Our online Gantt chart allows the project administrator to take all the tasks collected to reach the final deliverable and organize them on a project timeline, estimating duration and linking dependencies to avoid bottlenecks. The larger project can also be broken down into phases with our milestone feature on the Gantt.
Report Your Progress to Stakeholders
Project administrators help the project manager create reports for stakeholder presentations and to monitor the project’s progress. Our reports can be generated with a keystroke and show essential project metrics, such as project variance, cost, task, time and more. They can be filtered, so you get just the information you want, and then easily shared.
It’s hard being a project administrator, but with ProjectManager you have the tools to get the job done right.
ProjectManager is a cloud-based project management software that helps with every phase of a project. Our features include multiple project views, including kanban boards that visualize workflow, as well as Gantt chart, task list and calendar views. See why tens of thousands of teams at organizations are varied as Bank of America and NASA choose us to help them manage their projects. Take ProjectManager’s free 30-day trial today.