Why Relationship Building is Key for Successful Project Delivery

Oct 1, 2021

What do all projects have in common? Now, before you get too deep into the thinking of that, I will answer it for you. In its simplest sense, people.

And what do people have in common? 


Only 19% of projects deliver stakeholder satisfaction[1]. And the reason is because the stakeholders are not being engaged in an efficient and effective manner. Communication is key. So many projects fail to deliver, simply because the importance of the relationships in the team, and emotions in the room have been undervalued and/or ignored. Your stakeholders, their emotions and your project manager’s relationship with these emotions, matters.

Yes, it helps if the project manager is an intelligent individual; in fact this is highly recommended. But what is even more important, more crucial to the success of a project, is that this project manager understands and appreciates the value of relationship building. Emotional intelligence will trump intellectual intelligence every time when it comes to successfully delivering a project and achieving the desired results.

Your project is at its most exposed, when it is just beginning

Often enough, a project manager has little to no actual authority over a team. The way that they engage with the team is thus their most important asset. It would not work, if when the going got tough, the team set against each other in a state of arms, shouting and letting their emotions get the better of them.

What an effective and good project manager does is build up relationships of trust within the team from the start, based on vulnerability and openness. Gaining an understanding of stakeholders’ needs and expectations of the project is a critical step in setting the scope of the project. Ultimately acting as a catalyst to the much desired successful delivery of the project.  A good project manager will help the team navigate their feelings calmly, and in the face of high stress, with controlled thinking and teamwork. If your team has a project manager who can control their emotions and make decisions with confidence, your team’s culture will reflect this. This is how the project succeeds.  

It’s important that right from the very start, your team understands each other and that nobody is left behind and feeling out of sync. If there are key stakeholders that need to be engaged, make sure they are on board and that they are communicated with directly and clearly. The practice of truly listening and hearing out concerns of key stakeholders will help your team to navigate the waters of your project with everyone aboard, holding an oar and going at the same pace. 

Keeping your project on the right track

Make sure that your communication is regular and that it is revisited. The key to success involves all of your team being on board throughout the entirety of the project’s life cycle. Losing members overboard can destabilise the whole project if there’s not a relationship of trust to pull them back. 

In the end, we are all just people, and emotions do get high from time-to-time. But the key principles to making sure that your project succeeds even in those times of high emotions is that your team feels understood and acts like a team. 

Connected teams with trusting relationships, are far more likely to work through any difficulties your project encounters, more successfully and more collaboratively. In the end, if it is the people that all projects have in common, then it is the people, together, that will guarantee the success or failure of a project.