Describe The Sources Of Conflict In The Project Life Cycle?

Paul Naybour

This is quite a open question. Research says that the sources of conflict are often resources, time and money. Think about you day to day practice what at the main sources of conflict? Remeber each paragraph needs 3-4 sentances.

2 thoughts on “Describe The Sources Of Conflict In The Project Life Cycle?”

  1. Paul, I really like this answer. I like the way you have structured around the lifecycle and the examples you use seem realistic enough for me. ten more like this and you should pass without too much difficulty

  2. Hi Paul,

    Here’s my answer… Took 18 mins, but had to rush to think up examples, which may be a bit lame!

    Conflict Management is the process of identifying and addressing differences, which if left unmanaged could impact on project objectives. Effectively, this prevents differences becoming destructive elements. Conflict can exist throughout the phases of the project with some of the following sources :
    1) Concept phase: justification for the project
    2) Definition phase: requirements
    3) Implementation: changes and risk
    4) Handover and close: acceptance
    5) All phases: personality

    1. Concept phase Conflict can come in this phase with regards to why the project is actually required. Stakeholders may view the project as un-needed and potentially hostile and disruptive to the project team. The definition of the scope of the project may cause conflict as some stakeholders will want the project to achieve more than the what’s possible with the allocated funds. An example of this could be the residents near a planned train line extension being hostile with regards for why the line is taking the route proposed.

    2. Definition: during this phase, conflict may come in the requirements gathering process. Users and Stakeholders will need to prioritise which of the requirements are most beneficial and with a project under fiscal constraints, some may be classified as “nice to have” and left out of the project. Conflict can be good at this stage, as it can often drive better decisions, provided it is controlled and managed. An example could be the local MP on the train line extension being consulted by the angry residents, and to overcome the negative sentiment, the project includes larger safety barriers.

    3. Implementation: Conflict in this stage could come from the change control & risk management areas. Change requests are likely and risks will materialise which may cause conflict with existing requirements or impact the progress which has already been made. Justification of the change may be required for everyone to see the benefits of the change and to overcome the conflict, but this may lead to rework or other requirements being dropped, leading to further conflict. The requirement to continue delivering to budget and time, will be impacted and will have conflicting implications in this scenario. An example of this could be a request to change to overhead power cables on the train line extension, causing lots of rework.

    4. Handover and closeout: in this phase, conflict could come from the subjective acceptance of the completed project. If quality criteria has not been fully defined, there will be scope for differing interpretations of quality, leading to conflict. The transition to BAU, could also be a source of conflict with the functional dept. unwilling to take ownership, leading to conflict between the PM and the functional managers. An example of this could be the finished train line extension having too many defects for the train operators to run to a defined schedule.

    5. All Phases: Personal conflict can and will occur during all phases. This will include the conflict between the PM and Functional managers over resource usage in a matrix organisation. It could also include conflict between staff and the PM over the team members work priorities and differing day-to-day roles & responsibilities from the project demands. Conflict can also occur between team members for numerous reasons, and this will need to be controlled and managed to prevent the consequences of the conflict impacting on motivation, costs, morale and team performance.

    Any feedback much appreciated.


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