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Project Management: Dealing With Conflict and Confrontation

Project Management: Dealing With Conflict and Confrontation
By Michelle Symonds

In high pressure environments there will always be situations where people disagree or get worked up. As the project manager it is your job to resolve these issues as quickly, and effectively as possible.

Grasping an understanding of your own anger will help you to effectively deal with situations as they arise.

Many people believe because something makes them angry or on edge, it always will. This is largely because they externalise the anger and blame the outside influence. In reality it is often more down to our perception and associations than the event itself.
Understanding that our anger is quite often a result of old associations, past failures, and other frustrations, helps us to gain perspective in the moment. It helps us to recognise what aspects of the moment triggered our anger, and lets us establish whether our reaction is justified. Read the Complete Article

Dealing with Conflict in Project Teams

Dealing with Conflict in Project Teams
By Michael Stanleigh

Team conflict is challenging for project leaders but it is not necessarily bad. Conflict can lead to new ideas and approaches and facilitate the surfacing of important issues between team members if it is managed well.

According to various research studies on team conflict, the major sources of conflict among project teams are project goals not agreed upon, disagreement of the project’s priorities and conflicting work schedules. This is no surprise since most organizations today run multiple projects and employees often find themselves serving on a variety of project teams. To add fuel to the fire, employees may report to a variety of project managers while reporting directly to functional managers. This sets the stage for further conflict opportunities due to communication and information flow. After all, when reporting relationships are complex it becomes more difficult to share information.

Personality and interpersonal issues may also draw conflict, particularly in high technology environments, where cross-functional, self-directed teams with technical backgrounds must rely on work of others to get their own work done. Read the Complete Article

Managing Conflict in Teams: Switching to Successful Negotiation

Managing Conflict in Teams: Switching to Successful Negotiation
By The Cain Project in Engineering and Professional Communication

Styles of Conflict Behavior

Whenever you work on a team, team members may disagree. To move from those conflicts to resolution and successful teamwork, you first need to be able to recognize various styles of conflict behavior and adopt communication strategies to transform conflict into successful negotiation. The four steps in negotiation reduce internal conflicts so that the team can meet its goals.

In team disagreements, some members may act more assertively than others, while some may be more cooperative than others. Figure 1’s two-dimensional grid shows five styles of conflict behavior that combine cooperation and assertiveness in different degrees. For instance, a competitive style is highly assertive but uncooperative; a collaborative style is both highly cooperative and assertive. Compromise misses the best of both cooperation and assertiveness.

Cooperation vs Assertiveness in Conflict Management

Figure 1: This grid demonstrates how varying degrees of cooperation and assertiveness combine in styles of conflict behavior.
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Project Management: Resolving Project Conflicts

Project Management: Resolving Project Conflicts
By Larry Gunter

This posting summarizes a suggested analysis of the failure to create a positive project partnership. The project manager is in the implementation stage of the accounting software installation project. The attempts to re-unit the project team members which are contractors have been meet with resistance. The project manager must negotiate with the stakeholders individually and collectively to get the project back on track. The project manager must also have processes in place to ensure the project stays on track until it is complete (Gray & Larson, 2008, pp. 410-411)

Why does project partnerships sometimes fail?

One of the primary reasons project partnerships appeared to fail is the auto-pilot mentality of project manager who set the course of the stakeholders, but then stop monitoring the various stakeholder gauges to determine if the personnel were still working within the guidelines that were originally agreed upon. Read the Complete Article

Conflict Resolution for Project Managers

Conflict Resolution for Project Managers
By Michael L Young

Who Says Project Managers Don’t Fight!

Because it involves people, conflict in project management is inevitable.

No matter how good your project schedule, how sound your budget, projects can still be undone through poor interaction between individuals.

Projects involve people of different backgrounds, delegations, skill levels, qualifications, experience – and not to mention egos – working together.

Conflict can arise out of differences in values, attitudes, needs, expectations, perceptions, resources, or just personalities.

Therapist David Kantor once said: “In calm situations, with low emotional stakes, it’s easy to deal with people. They will listen to rational explanations, and offer rational responses of their own. But in high-stakes situations…confrontation – overt or subtle – puts everyone on the line”.

Proper conflict resolution skills can assist project managers to effectively dissolve conflicts that threaten organizational productivity and harness the energy for the purposes of good. Read the Complete Article

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) And Project Management

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) And Project Management
By Dave Nielsen

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has gained significant momentum in recent years. The push is on to identify projects that reflect the corporation’s sense of social responsibility and to tailor projects to reflect that sense. This is perhaps a step in the right direction when it comes to the corporation’s position in the host community but is extremely difficult and complex in its implementation. There are 2 key factors that contribute to its difficulty:

  1. Corporations’ main goal is still profits; they owe this to their shareholders. Although profits and social responsibility are not necessarily mutually exclusive, there is frequently a price tag associated with CSR projects and this creates a conflict: choose the CSR project, or tailor the project to meet CSR objectives OR focus on increased ROI? Where a project meets both objectives, the conflict is eliminated but you know intuitively that this won’t always be the case and indeed there are more and more news reports about cases where this wasn’t the case.
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Consensus and Compromise in Project Management

Consensus and Compromise in Project Management
By Susan Dodia

Do you understand the difference between consensus and compromise? The words sound alike but the distinction is important.

The dictionary definition of consensus is “general agreement or concord; harmony”, while the dictionary defines compromise as “a settlement of differences by mutual concessions”.

We are all familiar with compromise in decisions made by our project teams. We all give up some of what we want to make room for some of what the others want. On a good day, everyone is only slightly unhappy.

Consensus, on the other hand, is a group decision supported by all members based on:

  • A thorough understanding of all relevant information
  • Participation by all members
  • An understanding of different perspectives and needs
  • Creative efforts to accommodate different needs
  • A willingness to raise, understand and resolve disagreements

1Judy Mares-Dixon defines consensus as “a group’s very best effort to achieve its brightest outcome. Read the Complete Article

Stakeholders Interests and Leadership Vacuum

Stakeholders Interests and Leadership Vacuum
By Ari Tikka

Three Conflicting Interests

Every organization has three stakeholders that each have significant Interests. There are high stakes, energy and passion. (interest with a capital I refers to the specific Interests)

Three Interests

The investors are playing in the capital market. They wish for a reasonable ROI and they fear losing their investment.

The customers and end users wish for a functional product for a reasonable price, and they fear bad quality and difficulties in the support.

The value adding workers wish for satisfactory working condition, a reasonable compensation and a safe future.

All three stakeholders need the organization, wishing it to stay alive and productive. All stakeholders have both long and short term interests.

The cohesive and conflicting Interests are present in big and small units, departments and teams. Even individuals balance between these Interests in everyday decision making. “For the next few minutes, should I rest, write code, make another automated test or learn a new trick?” The real reality accumulates from these moments. Read the Complete Article

How To Swim With Sharks: A Conflict Management Analogy

How To Swim With Sharks: A Conflict Management Analogy
By Voltaire Cousteau

PM Hut chose to publish this article because it offers a great insight on how to deal with conflict. Although the article, in and for itself, does not mention Project Management, it has subtle meanings that any Project Manager, whether novice or experienced, can easily relate to.


Actually, nobody wants to swim with sharks. It is not an acknowledged sport and it is neither enjoyable nor exhilarating. These instructions are written primarily for the benefit of those, who, by virtue of their occupation, find they must swim and find that the water is infested with sharks.

It is of obvious importance to learn that the waters are shark infested before commencing to swim. It is safe to say that this initial determination has already been made. If the waters were infested, the naïve swimmer is by now probably beyond help; at the very least, he has doubtless lost any interest in learning how to swim with sharks. Read the Complete Article

Project Schedule Conflicts

Project Schedule Conflicts
By Eddy Touma

Often conflicts arise in projects between the different parties involved. Most of the conflicts, however, seem to be related in some way or another to the project schedule.

In the following paragraphs, we will try to identify the link between schedule issues and conflicts within projects.

Schedules are related to both time management and tasks distribution. These two aspects fall under the responsibility of the project manager. Project managers are responsible not only for managing conflicts, but also controlling and resolving any that might arise in this regards.

Conflicts related to project schedule are of many types and can arise on several different levels within the project team: stakeholders/management vs. project manager, project manager vs. team member(s), and finally team member(s) vs. another team member(s).

Stakeholders are usually concerned with projects meeting deadlines that are sometimes very stressful. Any delay with the project schedule can cause a conflict between the shareholders and the project manager. Read the Complete Article

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