Project Conflicts arise in projects due to a number of reasons, and if not properly and timely resolved may have negative impact on the morale and performance of the people involved causing adverse effects to the project as a whole and its objectives.
In addition to other leadership, inter-personal and people management skills, Project managers should have the necessary competencies and skills to address and tackle conflicts in projects and resolve them in favor of the project’s objectives and outcome.
Conflicts in projects happen due to the following reasons:
- Competing for limited resources,
- Different Schedule priorities, and
- Different personal styles.
Selecting the most appropriate and effective conflict resolution strategy and technique is highly dependent on the situation itself, and the project manager applies his experience and his preferred (or dominant) style to chose based on the following factors:
- Importance and intensity of conflict, Project Conflicts
- Available time to resolve the conflict,
- Positions taken by people involved, and
- Motivation to resolve the conflict.
The most important conflict resolution techniques are: Project Conflicts
- Withdraw (or avoid)
- Smooth (or accommodate)
- Compromise (or reconcile)
- Force (or direct)
- Collaborate (or confront and problem solving)
In general, selecting the appropriate style will depend on two main variables, cooperativeness and assertiveness. When people show less cooperativeness, a laid back or non assertive project manager would avoid the situation and leave it, while a more assertive project manager will force the solution. When People are cooperative, an easy going project manager will accommodate the solution that people agree upon, while an assertive project manager will confront people and collaborate with them to reach a solution in the favor of the project outcomes. When cooperativeness and assertiveness are in the middle, Compromising will be dominant, and it is a mix of all of these style.
If conflicts are left unattended they will grow in scale and scope, and will have negative consequences on the project, thus project managers should act proactively to identify sources of conflicts early in the project, develop a conflict resolution strategy to tackle different kinds of conflicts and act accordingly whenever a conflict is triggered.
by Eng. Ahmed Hussein Project Conflicts
MBA, PfMP, PMP