While you are trying hard to push a deliverable for the targeted date, you find your team discussing the pros and cons for the design of a crucial component. Worse your two very senior architects have very different opinion on the solution, How you as PM ensure that the project meets its target milestone with quality and efficiency, having high team moral?? 


Is this too much to ask or deal with?

I’m sure all of us who is reading this post have been in situations.


Conflict can arise due to many reason few are below:

  • Conflict over project priorities
  • Conflict over administration procedures
  • Conflict over technical opinions and performance trade-offs
  • Conflict over human resources
  • Conflict over cost and budget
  • Conflict over schedules
  • Personality conflict

How do you handle them? It depends on the project manager, the organisation structure and climate. 

Conflict Root cause Management (Typical)

Conflict Sources and Best Practices

Interpersonal Conflict Resolution Techniques

As a project manager you have choice of a conflict management strategy  which would depend  on the intensity of the conflict, your leadership style, importance  on maintaining good relationships versus achieving goals. 
The best approach will be the one that minimizes the obstacles to project completion. 

PM Leadership style and Situations

Withdrawing/ avoiding

When to use:

  • When you do not have time
  • To gain time
  • To discourage your opponent
  • To maintain neutrality or reputation
  • When you think the problem will go away by itself

What this technique would imply:

  • You move away from situation
  • You say that you do not have time for it

The conflict would remain!!  You buy  time to deal with conflict later.

Smoothing /accommodating

When to use:

  • To maintain harmony, peace,and goodwill

What this technique would imply:

  • You do not hurt people sentiments
  • You make people happy about certain aspects on situation
  • You buy time

The make people happy on things which would ease on situation!! conflict reduces by some %.

Compromising

When:

  • To maintain your relationship with your opponent
  • When goals are moderately high

What this technique would imply:

  • You reach a decision by having aspect from all people in conflict.
  • None of the party have full solution implemented/accepted 

Conflict reduces to ZERO i.e. decision is taken but both parties may not be satisfied.

Forcing

When:

  • When you are sure that you are right.
  • When an emergency situation exists (Do or die)
  • When stakes are high and issues are important
  • When the acceptance is unimportant

What this technique would imply:

  • You take decision for all.
  • People may feel displeased

Conflict reduces to ZERO i.e. decision is taken but opponent may feel down or lost.

Collaborating/Confronting/ problem solving

When

  • To gain commitment and create a common power base
  • When there is enough time and skills are complementary
  • To maintain future relationships

What this technique would imply:

  • A mutual decision is taken
  • Everyone participates

Conflict reduces to ZERO i.e. decision is taken and everyone is excited for new decison.


Remember your role as  PM is to  ensure project success by developing effective project teams.

 None of the conflict Management strategy given above are invalid, It depends on the time, goal in mind and your power as well as your leadership style.

All the best!!

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