Understanding Conflict in Project Management
The realm of project management often hosts numerous contentious issues. These conflicts range from the aggressive stakeholder, seemingly sabotaging the project, to disagreements about various features of a deliverable. Project managers even contribute to these conflicts in their quest for perfection. They question leaders, discuss potential risks, challenge discrepancies, and monitor performance. In essence, they go looking for trouble.
However, conflict can play a crucial positive role within a team dynamic, particularly by challenging requirements and validating the robustness of your business case and plans. While conflict should not necessarily be avoided, being prepared for its eventuality can lead to better management outcomes.
The Dynamics of Team Conflict
Team conflict arises from differing perspectives within the team. While disagreements are not always negative, the ultimate goal should be to resolve these differences and realign the team to a common goal.
Conflict throughout a Project Lifecycle
Let’s examine the potential for conflict at different periods during the project lifecycle and the individuals involved. With this understanding, you can be better prepared for potential challenges.
Project Management Conflict Examples: Concept Phase
The Concept or Initiation Phase is at the project’s inception, setting the stage for the potential for conflict to arise. This conflict typically involves the sponsor and users, the sponsor and the project manager, or the sponsor and portfolio management.
Conflict Examples: Definition Phase
This phase involves fully scoping and planning the project, with many interactions between team members. Potential friction could occur between the project manager and team leaders, project manager and sponsor, or the project manager and suppliers.
Conflict Examples: Development Phase
The Development, Delivery, or Execution Phase is where the bulk of the work is conducted, and the opportunity for conflict is vast. However, well-defined projects with a precise goal and a set of supportive stakeholders can mitigate conflict probability. For uncertain projects, you might face more heated discussions from time to time.
Conflict Examples: Handover and Close Phase
The final phase of the project involves handover to the operational teams and closing the project down. You may face conflict between the project manager and users or sponsors, or between the project manager and the operational team at this stage.
Causes of Conflict on Project Teams
Common causes of conflict on project teams include a lack of clarity about roles, personality clashes, ego, lack of respect, lack of strategic direction and leadership, miscommunication, misunderstandings, budget issues, aggressive timescales, lack of knowledge or benefits, and a lack of a clear project management method.
Identifying Conflict in the Workplace
Identifying conflict requires openness and awareness. Be prepared to recognize misaligned goals and expectations between stakeholders, as this can lead to potential conflicts.
Dealing with Conflicting Priorities
Another common cause of conflicts is conflicting priorities, which often provoked by mismatched stakeholder expectations. It’s crucial to iron out these differences and align expectations.
Project management and conflict resolution are inherently linked. Effective project managers use various strategies to resolve conflicts within a team, such as avoiding, accommodating, competing, collaborating, and compromising. This approach is guided by understanding the extent of their roles in conflict resolution.
Effectively managing Projects with Qamodo
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In summary, an understanding of the potential for conflict during different project phases and appropriate strategies for managing these conflicts can greatly improve project outcomes. Combining these strategies with the advanced metrics and functions of Qamodo’s project management tool creates an optimized environment for both project managers and team members.
Embrace the lesser-known virtue of friction within your team, and scale greater heights with Qamodo!