Conflicts are not uncommon during a project life cycle and they often permeate all the project process groups including initiating, planning, executing, monitoring/controlling, and closing. However, conflicts are often more frequent in some project phases than others. This article discusses project conflicts associated with the project execution phase. But before we dive deep into some common conflicts associated with project execution, let's understand what project conflict mean to us.
Project conflicts may arise due to differing personalities and sense of priorities. A conflict refers to a situation where the project stakeholders’ priorities, interests, needs, goals or values interfere with one another.
Priorities and interests in the context of project execution may be which tasks should take precedence over the other. Some common examples of tasks where interests and/or priorities usually clash are:
Sometimes, project conflicts create an opportunity for the project team to minimise rework and to push towards quality deliverables for the entire project only when they are well managed as will be seen in the instance of whether POP first or tiling first.
In a typical building construction project, the POP team argues that if POP is done first, tilers will likely splash the POP ceiling with black cement. They claim that, in most cases, the tilers often forget to clean up the stain and it eventually dries up on the POP ceiling. An attempt to scrub off the dry cement usually leads to punching the POP ceiling which may lead to rework.
On the other hand, the tiling team recalls that the usual task sequence is to have POP ceiling done before the commencement of wall tiling. According to the tiling team, this usually ensures proper alignment of the tiles with the ceiling, thus, preventing any form of opening. Interestingly, the POP team agrees with the view of proper alignment but they are also concerned about the neatness of the finishing.
Under this situation, both teams have a good point but who will blink for the other is largely based on compromise, understanding and/or client final decision.
In conclusion, priorities and interests should be properly managed by the project leader and/or client in order to translate the ventilated views of each team into quality project output.