project coordination at My Special PA

How To: Successful Creative Project Coordination

Key Skills: Nicola Pedlingham – Creative Project Coordination Specialist

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Nicola Pedlingham – Project Coordination Specialist – My Special PA

At MSPA, the most vital requirement of any team member is a core understanding of creative temperaments. Whilst we have always rejected the stereotyping of creatives as ‘scatty and disorganised’ – (it’s actually a myth) creatives can definitely have a propensity to the ‘unpredictable’  

We work with a host of incredibly talented, passionate and driven individuals and we know that in order to provide them with the best possible service, we need to be highly flexible and resourceful in addition to our core organisational skills. These qualities come as standard for an experienced project coordination specialist.

Nicola Pedlingham joined MSPA this September 2016. She specialises in creative project coordination and comes to us with over 15 years experience in providing high-level support to a whole host of creative professionals including actors, photographers, interiors designers and stylists.  Nicola honed her skills in project coordination and top-level liaison from working on large-scale projects including theatre tours, interior design builds and was the photographic producer on the Grand Designs Abroad Book for Harper Collins/Channel 4.  

“I have been extremely lucky to have traveled and lived abroad for work which certainly presented many challenges but I feel have only made me a more capable and resourceful PA.  Setting up an office in an unknown city or trying to get a camera fixed in the middle of the Italian countryside teach you to be confident in your ability, organised and above all extremely inventive!” 

We asked Nicola to share her approach to truly successful creative project coordination – for the purposes of this post, she’s focussed on her interior design experience: 

1.   Throw yourself into the project wholeheartedly – it might sound blindingly obvious, of course you need to know what you’re working on, but I mean inside and out.  Coordinating a project isn’t just about being in an office making sure things run smoothly, one day you could be sent out to buy accessories or select some artwork and if you haven’t discussed or asked the questions of the designer from the start, you’re not going to be able to do this.

2.   Nurture your relationships with your suppliers –  Whenever I start a project, I make a point of getting to know the suppliers just as much as the client, if not more.  Chances are you’re going to need your curtain maker to make some last minute changes or your decorator to repaint that room that the client was so sure about, so if you haven’t taken the time to get to know all the people around you that help a project to succeed, your job is going to be so much harder.

3.   Never take your eyes off the budget – sometimes it’s easy to get carried away and sadly part of project managing an interior design-build is being the voice of reason and watching you don’t overspend.

4.   Be one step ahead – try and anticipate everything that might go wrong and think how you would solve it.  That way, if it does happen you won’t panic as you’ll have a contingency in place.

5.   Always carry a tape measure!

Can you add anything to Nicola’s top tips?

It’s a ‘learn on the job’ skill and most people have some war stories to tell along the way. We’d love to hear yours?

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