Trust in project teams has been long acknowledged as an important driver of high-performing companies.

Within the context of business relationships, trust includes believing that your team members will do the work in a predictable and consistent way.

Since most projects include a human or an emotional, relational element, trust is important. Without some emotional zest to kickstart a project and propel it forward, we would still be living in the dark ages without innovation.

trust in project teams: happy woman at work

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As a general rule, groups work better, faster, and smarter than individuals. But if we, as humans, are social and prone to collaborate, why so many groups dissipate? Why so many people depart projects without a word? How come projects crumble to dust?

This common mistake of project management is based on blind trust. It is the ignorance of the shadow side of trust.

The shadow side of trust is simple. With some people and under some circumstances it just doesn’t work.


There are two famous sayings about success. They look only remotely different if you don’t pay 100-percent attention.

  1. The road to success is paved with failure.
  2. The road to success is paved with mistakes well handled.

If you pause and think about them a bit more, you’ll notice that the difference is substantial. This subtle difference makes a striking impact. It is a factor that plays a key role in the process of turning a project into a success or a failure.

The first saying loosens the grip for the project manager. It is reactive.

The second puts the project manager in charge. It is proactive.

Working in successful teams is more about the second saying. The second saying puts an accent on the importance of a clear plan and structure.

Blind trust in project teams is not always the best option.

Although it takes an element of risk to start your journey towards successful digital projects, relying solely on trust is not a good idea. This is more true when people:

  • Work across borders
  • Participate in more than one team, and
  • Compete in a worldwide market.

trust in project teams: person holding a globe

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A plan without action is just a wish. Likewise, a project based on hope and luck is just a lottery game with minimal odds for success.

No team is exclusively built on affective states, such as hope, luck, or expectations. Expectations don’t always have a solid base in reality. Hope is fickle. Luck is a gambling matter.

In the realm of agile projects, things change with lightning speed. It is, therefore, more important to understand that trust in project teams must be accompanied by the meat and potatoes of effective project management (PM).

PM tools on agile teams must include systemic monitoring and accountability tools.


Luckily, today’s technologies provide the architecture to leave the rainbow land behind. You can keep both feet firmly on the ground by making digital tools work to your team’s advantage.

Blockchain Trust

Case in point, think of the blockchain. It’s a perfect example of how trustless networks recreate years of contractual practice based on third-party assurance, simply by removing the issue of trust out of the game.

In the blockchain, trust is not an issue because it cannot be broken by the network members or the central authority due to the blockchain’s inherent capability for immutable, open, and transparent records.

The Role of Trustworthiness

It is important to develop products and services in a healthy and safe environment. But we should not rely on trustworthiness only.

Trustworthiness in project management supported by a reliable technology infrastructure creates a distraction-free environment. In turn, this has a positive effect on people’s well-being, productivity, and cohesion.

Absolute trust is a danger for your team.

Once broken, trust in project teams is difficult to restore, even after applying remedies such as apologies, promises, and subsequent consistent action.

Even if the team member owns the role in what happened and you give time to restore the trust in a team that failed, it’s way more complicated to handle mistakes after they happen.

Therefore, building teams without blind trust or trustless teams, like the blockchain is one of the key ingredients for completing successful projects.


There are many ways, tools, and methods to ensure that you have a system for building trust in project management. You should:

  • Not rely on trust, hope, expectations, and luck to deliver the project without providing the necessary infrastructure that expands the relational element.
  • Set clear goals and responsibilities and hold people accountable to them.
  • Have a good monitoring process and make sure that people deliver on time and up to a good standard.

In the end, this means that you have a system that works and takes care of itself, without the need to constantly check and worry about deliverance.

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The limits of the digital world broaden. More users start communicating via Internet technologies and systems. Hence, distrust can become an issue that requires more investment from digital companies that interact with users worldwide.

The role of the agency of the future is to make people believe that you have their best interests at heart.

Assure them that you are capable of delivering on your promises and that you are honest and authentic.

Working internationally is nothing new. People have been doing it for decades. But meeting the challenges of virtual work related to trust in project teams is best done when you don’t leave success to chance.

Trustworthiness backed up by technological solutions provides a competitive market advantage and greater customer loyalty.

Walk the talk of success by setting clear goals, responsibilities, roles, workflows. Establish a structure as a key contrast between reliable and undependable agency partners.

If you ask a customer about their primary choice, they will definitely go for the trust plus structure option.


Rock solid concepts for project plans that deliver the base for your project’s success


Our project assessment tool guides you on what process, technology and virtual team skills you will need to get things done faster.


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