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  • Writer's pictureJohn Copps

Putting human relationships at the centre of projects – our ‘relational project management’ approach

John Copps explains what relational project management is, and what makes it different to conventional approaches.

There is a lot written about how to do project management. Almost all of this focuses on the processes of structuring, organising and overseeing projects – but tends to gloss over what really makes a project tick.

Over the last decade, Mutual Ventures has undertaken dozens of projects across government agencies and the wider social sector, working with colleagues from different professions, including children’s services, healthcare, and urban regeneration.

What is the biggest element of success within these projects? People.

The concept of relational project management was sparked by the realisation that relationships with and between colleagues, stakeholders and partners are what makes or breaks the success of a project.

Simply put, relational project management puts human relationships at the centre of projects.

It is about establishing and embedding the conditions to get the best out of people. It recognises successful outcomes rely on respectful, healthy relationships, and a belief in resolving difficulties. It acknowledges that relationships do not exist in isolation, but are interrelated and influence each other across a project and beyond.

Structure and processes is still vitally important, but only deliver outcomes through human relationships. The real key is to have the whole project team and stakeholders onside, working for the same outcome, focused on their tasks, and enjoying themselves.

To learn more about this approach and what it means for managing projects, download our report.

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