Types of Project Conflicts
There are different types of project conflicts found among teams and managers, due to differing personalities and sense of priorities. A good project manager needs to anticipate such conflicts and be able to resolve them amicably for the success of the project. This is indeed a challenging task.
The commonly found conflicts are related to role clarity, prioritizing of tasks, communication problems, and dependent tasks and working in silos. The conflict can be interpersonal with internal conflict within the person, or interpersonal, where the conflict is between two or more people. The conflict could also be inter-organizational or intra-organizational; intra group or inter group, all needing the skills of the project manager in order to solve them.
Clarity in Roles
Tasks need to be assigned to each of the team members; else it could lead to a lack of role clarity among them. Managers tend to assume that the team members know exactly what is expected of them, which is not always true. Many members are unable to deliver, as they do not know what is expected to be accomplished and this could lead to conflict between the manager and team member.
Prioritization of Tasks
The project manager might consider the task as the most important one in his agenda. However, the team members might be working on several other projects and will not realize which of them is to be prioritized over another. The project manager can help solve such conflicts by explaining the significance of the task set out for the member and even assist them in prioritizing the tasks that the member needs to complete.
Team members, very often, work isolated from the rest of the team and may not be aware of the other members’ tasks and what they are doing. It is the duty of the project manager to bring them all together as a team and keep each one of them updated about the achievement and progress of the others in order to deliver the project on schedule. When working in silos, team members need to get the large picture in order to pitch in their best and put in a concerted effort with others.
A clear and strong line of communication between manager and team members and among team members is essential to avoid conflicts. The lack of this might cause duplication of tasks. Team members should be able to access each other and the manager at all times, or everyone will simply be going around in circles.
Dependencies of Tasks
Sometimes, one task can be dependent on the completion of the other. This leads to conflict and all members need to understand the importance of completing their task in time. For instance, one member is entrusted with the task of procuring the material and the other with installing them. The second one can only complete his task if the first one completes his assigned task. If there is delay, it leads to conflict between the two participating members.
Such types of conflicts can be avoided by an efficient project manager, who sees to it that the members stick to their assigned tasks and deadlines, organizing frequent meetings to update and clarify doubts and resolving issues in order to get a satisfactory result. After all a large part of project management is people management.
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