1st Edition

Relationship Management and the Management of Projects

By Hedley Smyth Copyright 2015
    312 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    312 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Relationship Management and the Management of Projects is a guide to successfully building and managing relationships as a project manager and in the project business.

    Relationship management is a core skill for any project business to develop capabilities and manage the interface with projects, providing guidance to project managers as they negotiate with business partners and coordinate between business functions. Whatever the structures and procedures an organization has and whatever the project management tools and techniques, they are only as good as the hands they are in. Yet relationship management, though a well-established discipline, is rarely applied to the process-driven world of project management.

    This book is a much-needed guide to the process of enhancing these skills to boost firm performance, team performance and develop collaborative practices. Hedley Smyth guides you through the processes of relationship management examining the theory and practice. This book highlights the range of options available to further develop current practices to ensure a successful relationship management in all stages of a project’s lifecycle.

    Relationship Management and the Management of Projects is valuable reading for all students and specialists in project management, as well as project managers in business, management, the built environment, or indeed any industry.

    1. In the Beginning there are Relationships  2. Relational Contracting  3. The Market, Marketing and Relationship Management  4. Emotional Intelligence and Relationship Management  5. Trust and Relationship Management  6. Organizational Culture  7. Organizational Behaviour and Systems Integration  8. Project Business and Project Decision-Making  9. Technical and Technological Task Management and Service Provision  10. Moral Matters and Project Business  11. Project Pervasiveness in Society and the Management of Projects  12. The Social Space of Project Conduct

    Chapter 1. In the Beginning there are Relationships
    The social space of conduct for project businesses and projects is interpersonal, cross-functional and inter-organizational relationships. The tools and techniques of project management are only as good as the relational hands they are in, yet management and researchers tend to hold back from directly addressing management of organizational behaviour in project businesses. Examining current practice and potential for relationship management as a the systematic approach to managing intra-organizational and inter-organizational relationships articulated by procedures, behavioural programmes and codes is set out focusing upon a range of ten substantive issues for the management of projects through systematic strategies and action.

    Chapter 2. Relational Contracting
    Collaborative working practices have been to the fore over the last two or three decades. Partnering, supply chain management and agile methods are examples of relational contracting where the primary drivers arise in the marketplace from clients and are implemented through contracts and governance. These measure tend to induce reaction rather than the transition to proactively develop and embed emergent supply side practices across projects, in programmes and from investment in organizational capabilities to transition to consistent and continuous improvement. Relational contracting has induced change, yet less than claim or anticipated, and its limits are scoped in theory and practice.

    Chapter 3. The Market, Marketing and Relationship Management
    A primary conceptual source for proactive relationship management arises from relationship marketing. Value offered to clients has also to be delivered. This requires a systematic approach to relationship management along project lifecycles, supported by programme management and the development of organisational capabilities. It is argued that relationship management frames guidance, offering to control service consistency and enhance integration yet scope for individuals and project teams to mobilize creativity and problem solving abilities. In multi-organizational teams there are tensions implementing relationship management, where developing systems derived from different organizational contexts need be rapid mobilization.

    Chapter 4. Emotional Intelligence and Relationship Management
    Developing from interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence is becoming increasingly popular in management and research. Different approaches to emotional intelligence are compared and contrasted, and specifically group emotional intelligence is explored as a significant part of team working. Personal and team behaviour is being applied to develop project practices. Behavioural programmes applying the principles of emotional intelligence are being used to enhance performance. Relationship management is a constituent concept of emotional intelligence can also connect to a wider relationship management system through leadership, behavioural programmes and through informal set of routines.

    Chapter 5. Trust and Relationship Management
    Trust has received attention as part of project governance and relationship contracting. It is recognized as important in relationship marketing, emotional intelligence as well as being a construct in organizational behaviour. Managing trust in temporal and multi-organizational project teams is recognized as making a significance performance difference. Trust is argued to have financial value to clients and project businesses, as well as being part of the development of social capital within relationship management that accrues in value with use. Practical means to assess trust are presented to enhance relationship management at a detailed level of operation.

    Chapter 6. Organizational Culture
    Organizational culture is about ways of doing things in project businesses and on projects. The practical tension between managers saying they will change organizational culture while it is also cited as a reason for not being able to manage and change outcomes is addressed by reviewing several conceptual approaches to organizational culture and showing how systems, routines and organizational norms can be developed and renegotiated to assist relationship management. This offers an approach contrasting with the structural solutions to organizational processes faced in many project businesses.

    Chapter 7. Organizational Behaviour and Systems Integration
    Organizational behaviour is the human side of work and relationships articulate the interfaces with systems and functions coordinating and routinizing roles. This works to articulate systems and integrate activities. Relationships are both part of organizational behaviour to facilitate other functions and capabilities and are capabilities of effective performance. Organizational behaviour develops from the ground to be developed into behavioural programmes and codes. These emergent practices need to be embedded at organizational level to benefit project management and business performance. Integration and coordination helps the development of repeatable solutions at a generic level that are customised and tailored for individual projects.

    Chapter 8. Project Business and Project Decision-Making
    One particular type of organizational behaviour is decision-making. Decisions are the means to translate ideas and directions into applied processes and actions. Decisions aim to improve performance from the strategic board level down to operational levels. Rational and subjective approaches to decision-making, including the application of rules of thumb, are examined and the distorting factors of the mobilization of bias and optimum bias related to career and political agendas are also examined. Linking back to emotional intelligence, trust and cultural norms in particular, management use of sense making and negotiation as part of decision-making conduct is addressed.

    Chapter 9. Technical and Technological Task Management and Service Provision
    The preoccupation of project managers and managers with technical expertise, project management and a task focus is analysed. This is contrasted with the service content, especially amongst project businesses that subcontract most or all work and are service providers that integrate the value provided by others. Relationships and their management are both facilitators of service provision and is part of the service provision experienced by clients and other stakeholder.

    Chapter 10. Moral Matters and Project Business
    Moral is an implicit if not explicit function of management. The moral position adopted and the ethics applied concerning compliance with shared norms, standards and regulatory regimes cannot be separated from the operations of the firm. Morality can be consigned to risk management, especially to relational risk. Over-emphasizing risk can lead to the unintended violation of relationships and social contracts. Reasonable morality is needed to underpin internal operations and market exchange. It has a direct relation with internal social capital, particularly trust and its management, that can be used to enhance service experience.

    Chapter 11. Project Pervasiveness in Society and the Management of Projects
    Projects have become pervasive in commercial business. The project mode of operation is a primary delivery channel and the management of projects provides the means. Meeting requirements to time, cost and quality/scope are merely threshold criteria. Service during during execution is repeatedly overlooked. Benefits in use and the impact are insufficiently considered. The growing challenges presented by clients to meet the range of organisational and societal problems will require successful project businesses to proactively improve their technical and service capabilities, and those that do through iterative and incremental investment will be amongst those that survive and are the most successful.

    Chapter 12. The Social Space of Project Conduct
    Relationships are central project operations. They provide the social space of project conduct. It is through relationships that value is identified, levered and delivered, both as value added and added value. Relationship management is a conceptually important and growing applied part of project business models, and an important part of the management of projects. Effective relationships and proactive relationship management contribute to performance effectiveness and efficiency. Relationship management contributes to integrated portfolio, programme and project management and its structuring guides organizational behaviour. Overall, bringing the management of projects and relationship management contributes to a systematic and organizationally coordinated approach.


    Hedley Smyth is Director of Research for the Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management, University College London. He has worked extensively in industry and academia and has been published in many leading journals and authored a wide range of books.

    ‘This is a comprehensive work that shows how productivity and effectiveness in projects can be improved by mobilising the under-utilised asset of social relations. This book provides a guide on how to structure the project in a robust task-oriented way that engenders the outwards orientation and trust that underlies all value-creation in projects.’ - Magnus Gustafsson, PBI Research Institute, Finland

    ‘Projects are not islands and neither is the management of projects. As this book argues, we need to consider projects and project management in light of relationship management. This book is an excellent contribution to the theory of the management of projects and to our understanding of how projects and project business are formed in a relational context. It offers fresh ideas for both theorists as well as practitioners. It tackles a host of important topics, including trust building in project business, social capital in projects, moral issues in project business, and the development of long-term and short-term relationships for better projects and more successful project business.’ Jonas Söderlund, Professor, BI Norwegian Business School, Norway