Project ManagementRisk Management

How Do You Respond to Project Conflicts?

If your default reaction to conflict is to bop someone on the nose, then you are not reading this article—because you are in prison. What can the rest of you non-prison-dwelling workers do to alleviate project conflict? In a post at the Project Risk Coach, Harry Hall shares some quick and simple answers.

Blitzkrieg Bop

Conflicts can arise for many reasons. Seven main categories of conflict sources identified in the past include the following: schedules, project priorities, manpower resources, technical opinions, administrative procedure, cost objectives, and personality conflict. Hall identifies five potential ways that people choose to resolve conflict:

  1. Withdrawing
  2. Smoothing
  3. Compromising
  4. Forcing
  5. Problem-solving

Withdrawing is when a person just evacuates a situation entirely and hopes the problem goes away on its own. This seldom ever works and often just leads to greater problems later. Smoothing by comparison is at least a little better. Here is Hall’s well-put explanation:

Other project managers are as smooth as silk. These project managers emphasize the areas of agreement and fail to address the differences of opinion, thus, kicking the can down the road.

Compromising and forcing are exactly what they sound like; people can compromise, or project managers can force subordinates to go in a given direction. The final option, problem-solving, attempts to get creative. It reframes differences of opinion as a problem to be solved collectively by stakeholders, after being fed sufficient information and knowledge of potential alternatives.

You can view the original post here:

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