Project Conflict

On today’s #PMChat, we will be talking about Project Conflict – different types, how they affect our work, how we can plan for them and whether we should manage them ourselves or escalate to others.  Join the conversation on Twitter at 1300 AEDT, 1500 NZST, 1900 PT and 2200 ET – just look for the #PMChathashtag.

Disclaimer: I’m dealing with a legal dispute with an angry vendor at the moment – I’m not able to name names, but I will talk from that perspective today!

Q1. What is your experience in dealing with Project conflict? Have you had to deal with internal and/or external stakeholder conflicts? How did the conflict come about?

We’ve all dealt with conflict in our project environments at some point. So let’s think about how those conflicts impact your team and its output.

Q2. How did your conflict experience impact your project? What were the tangible impacts – schedule, cost etc? What about the intangible impacts – morale, engagement?

We often talk about conflict as negative and that makes sense, we see negative arguments all the time. But let’s think about whether conflict or tension can, in fact, be positive or creative.

Q3. Can conflict be positive? Or is it always negative? Is tension healthy within the project environment? Do you prefer to have dissenting views or consensus within your project environment?

We talk about project planning all the time – including managing our stakeholders and communication. Our last 3 questions talk about whether we should plan for conflict/tension, how that planning might look and who should be involved.

Q4. Should we plan for conflict (positive or negative) within our project environment? Should we put in place a framework to deal with it? If yes, what would that look like?

Q5. Who is responsible for managing conflict within the project environment? Is there one person or do different people have responsibilities? Who manages dispute with your major vendor? Who settles arguments between your team members?

Q6. Should you escalate project conflicts to your governance forum / Project Board? If so, when is the best time, and which conflicts would you share? Do you prefer to manage project disputes in-house or escalate?