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7 Big Project Management Conflicts & Ways To Solve Them All

Project Management Conflicts & Ways To Solve Them All

The whole point of the existence of a project manager is that they untangle everything and help the team avoid conflicts from the get-go. 

But conflicts are inevitable. 

In fact, conflicts will occur if not in one aspect, then in another. 

And from what I have seen, they can surface when an experienced project manager is driving your venture and also when a novel project manager is trying their hand at it for the first time. 

As the CEO of ProofHub, I can vouch for my team when I say we haven’t been perfect in executing our strategies, sometimes something would pop up and other times we’d have full-blown conflicts. 

The thing to remember is that what you do at the time of conflict defines the type of leader that you are.

This whole article serves the purpose of making project managers familiar with the conflicts they may face in the future and how exactly they can avoid and deal with them if they were to happen. 

So let’s discuss 7 of the most common project management conflicts and the ways in which you can overcome them and always come out on top. 

#1 The General Chaos Of Uncertainty

Managing a project means you will be juggling a lot of variables together — from resource allocation to task management, everything needs to be managed on a minute level. 

And, chaos is bound to surface when there are so many factors, not to mention people involved. In case you don’t already know what project management generally entails, I must tell you that it is a mix of:

  • Resource allocation, 
  • Task allotment,
  • Budget allocation, 
  • Determination of funding, and
  • People management. 

All these factors form a big part of what all a project manager has to do to promote collaboration while also actively managing conflicts

Here’s how you can avoid this chaos of uncertainty: 

There is only one way to avoid confusion and stress — Uproot the causes of misinformation. That can be done in a lot of ways. 

  • Setting an agenda. 
  • Defining weekly goals. 
  • Establishing clear roles and responsibilities.
  • Having meetings that have concrete outcomes. 

These are just some of the practical pieces of advice I can offer. Doing all these things actually helps us a lot in clearing everything up. When we have established guidelines and roles as an aid, things are never bound to go wrong.

Here’s how you can mend this situation:

What I always say is that if you have done something wrong, you have something to look back at and learn from. 

Failure may seem like a major loss but it is a win for you in the learning curve. And God knows, the learning curve in something as intricate as project management, is quite frankly, endless.

So here is what you can do to manage the chaos that you have on your hands:

  • Get the whole team together and give them a clear picture of their shared goals.
  • Help them resolve personal conflicts by assigning them tasks on a platform where they can keep a track of all of them. 
  • Give your team the tools to untangle conversations by having elaborate documented discussions.

What kind of automation tools can help you?

Nowadays it seems like there is an automation tool for everything. And thank God that there is. At our organization, we use these software platforms to help us manage projects, assign roles, and have effective communication within the team. 

However, instead of using 3-4 tools for all of this, there is an all-in-one solution that managers use to handle all of this.

And that all-in-one tool is one that helps you manage projects. Yes, project management software has everything you need to:

  • Keep your team on the same page, 
  • Keep your projects running smoothly. 
  • Assign tasks clearly, 
  • Have conversations, 
  • Make notes,
  • Create a knowledge base, and 
  • Track the depletion of your resources. 

ProofHub lets you do all of that on a single platform with ease. It helps you assign tasks, manage projects, and have group discussions all at the same time. With this tool you have your work cut out for you.

#2 The Inescapable Scheduling Conflicts

Another conflict that can result in a big halt in the path of project management is scheduling conflicts. Now here I don’t mean scheduling of events or meetings, but rather the deadlines of various tasks. 

I think all of you can agree when I say, the tasks present in a sequence will all suffer if there is a delay in the first one. Not only does this result in the delay of the delivery and submission of the team’s work, but it also results in a collectively stressful situation for the team. 

This can potentially jeopardize your whole project timeline, not to mention the project outcome as a whole.

Here’s how you can avoid this situation:

Now deadlines being unattainable is a big issue, as we established above. However, precautionary measures can be taken, so you never have to fall into this trap. Here are some things that I always try to do:

  • I follow different project management techniques to determine the arc of time beforehand. 
  • Running diagnostics and test runs on your project cycle only tends to help your pace and management. 
  • Determine what you have and what you need in terms of resources before you initiate progress. 
  • Leave a margin of time before the submission date so everyone has time to attempt their tasks better while also having a moment to breathe. 
  • Have some risk management plans in store for situations where things are bound to get a little troublesome.

Here’s how you can mend this situation:

Okay, now what do we do in a situation where you have actually fallen into the scheduling conflict-vicious cycle?

It’s not easy but it is doable. 

  • Try to talk to the clients and stakeholders as soon as you can about the change in the timeline. 
  • Sit together and discuss what all went wrong and create a new schedule for future tasks keeping all those factors in mind.
  • Take the help of Gantt chart tools to edit your task deadlines hassle-free.

What kind of automation tools can help you?

Gantt tools, as I mentioned earlier, can be a lot of help when you want to define deadlines, view deadlines, and make any sort of modifications to them.

ProofHub is one such tool that can help you sort out your work, your time data, your agenda, and your deadlines in one consolidated space. 

Get the best features of Gantt charts with ProofHub. Sign up now for a smooth sailing project scheduling experience.

#3 The Scarcity Of Resources Issue

The scarcity of resources is something that could cause irrevocable damage to a team. It could take down your reputation, your project, and your organization as a whole. Why does this factor matter so much?

I’ll tell you why — It’s because mismanagement of resources can result in disagreements, differences, and loss of trust. Not only that but, this can also cause the team to be in a lot more stressful situations where they have to deal with old records and scrape to find new resources as soon as they possibly can.

Here’s how you can avoid this situation:

The best way to avoid this situation is to be prepared. That’s it. Resources are something that can be judged when we put them down in numbers. 

If we do a thorough inventory of all our resources, we can save ourselves and the team the trouble of every falling prey to a case of scarce resources. 

So here are some tips to help you be prepared for this sort of thing:

  • Judge the availability of the resources you might need. 
  • Keep a list of resources on stand-by. 
  • Determine all the resources you have and do proper documentation for the same. 
  • Invest in a technology that will help you keep track of all your resources. 

Here’s how you can mend this situation:

In case you have fallen prey to this conflict, don’t worry, for there might still be a way out. You can still salvage a lot out of this situation, and even if you don’t make it out, you won’t come out empty-handed. 

Here’s what you can do:

  • Identify the problems in your gameplay. 
  • Determine the problems with the resources. 
  • Make a task force that is dedicated solely to find your organization the quickest way out of this sticky situation.

What kind of automation tools can help you?

All you need is a tool that will help you determine how much resources you have and how much you are going to need until the completion of the project. A project planning tool can help you a lot with this. 

#4 The Mysteriousness Of Roles

And by that, I mean the general ambiguity in the roles and responsibilities of the employees and how these roles and responsibilities are linked to the other people in the team. These are things that have to be defined in a project pretty early on. 

This type of conflict can lead to a lack of trust, lack of cooperation, and a lack of the general feeling of harmony between the team. And we don’t want that, do we? 

Here’s how you can avoid this situation:

I have seen that the sequence of effective project management includes 

  • Determination of resources.
  • Planning to see what is needed and what we own. 
  • Deciding a direction for the project. 
  • Dividing the project into tasks. 
  • Assigning and allocating different tasks to various team members. 

Some would argue that this is actually the best way to do it, but every project manager will have a different approach to solving different management issues

To  avoid the case of mysterious roles, you must follow this simple advice:

  • Communicate shared and individual goals effectively to your team.
  • Conduct one-on-one meetings with your employees to discuss how they fit into the plan. 
  • Use a tool that helps people keep their agendas on the front and center. 

Here’s how you can mend this situation:

When faced with conflict as dire as confusion with the roles and responsibilities, you must clear up the following:

  • Go over your employees’ track records and look into what and how they have been performing for the past few days. 
  • Jot down what needs to be done against who can do it best. 
  • Divide tasks between your teammates responsibly. 
  • Explain to every employee in detail about their roles in the project.

What kind of automation tools can help you?

There are a lot of tools that can help your team with allotting tasks and distributing responsibilities. But what you need is a tool that can help your employees keep track of their targets, goals, and milestones so you can track their progress effectively. 

Therefore, I feel ProofHub can help you out with this issue. It can help you set a hierarchy, establish channels for communication, and also keep a track of your progress. 

Assign tasks and set custom roles with ProofHub. Sign up now for a FREE trial

#5 Inviting New Tools Into The Mix

Another very real conflict with project management is the introduction of new tech. As you start to implement a new methodology or play by the rules of a different project management technique, you will find your team getting uneasy.

And, that, is just the start. When you throw new tools into the mix, you need to get ready for a heated reaction. People find that letting a new software into the work process is like introducing a new manager of the team, you would be wise to expect a shake-up.

Here’s how you can avoid this situation:

There are many ways to get your team accustomed to a new software program. Over the years I have dealt with the same problem the same way but I modify it every time. Here is what that process’s latest version has come to:

  • I tend to introduce 2-3 members of the team to the tool. This helps me make this select group of people familiar with the tool and its functionality. And, hence, these people can help others get accustomed to the tool as well. 
  • The other thing I try to do is make people use the software platform in small doses. It is also a good practice to give your employees a chance to explore a different section of the tool everyday. 

#6 The Issue Of Undefined Hierarchy

Now, this is a conflict I am sure every project manager is familiar with. “Who do I report to?” is what this issue is all about. But how does it occur? I have a fairly good guess. 

I think the undefined hierarchy occurs when there are just too many people from management that an employee needs to report to before moving on to their next task. This is a complicated process to put an employee through. 

Here’s how you can avoid this situation:

The lack of a defined hierarchy means that there is no system through which the exchange of information takes place. Giving feedback, and receiving feedback in such a scenario can be an absolute nightmare.

But you can take care of this issue on your own. Here’s how:

  • Define a role, with a clear label and a written code of responsibilities.
  • Be clear about the shared vision and collective goals. 
  • Stay informed as a boss about all that is going on. 
  • Select people who are fit for the job and find it easy to gel in. 
  • Make sure everyone is cooperative with the chain of command. 
  • Be in constant communication with the team to tap into their views and opinions. 

Here’s how you can mend this situation:

If you have an undefined hierarchy problem on your hands, your workplace must be going haywire. There is a reason the chain of command is so respectable — it’s because it actually works. 

If the hierarchical structure of your project team has been fractured, there are still ways to mend it, for instance:

  • Conduct a meeting to restore order and ensure your team that matters will soon be sorted out. 
  • Obtain a clear view of what everyone has been up to and who they have been answering to lately. 
  • Conduct thorough feedback sessions to determine the best positions for everybody.

What kind of automation tools can help you?

A hierarchy can best be established using a project management tool that helps you assign custom roles. And these tools also have Kanban boards that can help you stay on top of your team all the time. 

You will get to manage the progress, distribute work, and streamline your process well with the help of a project manager who believes in using a management tool. 

ProofHub might be the best example of an all-in-one project management solution. It helps you with keeping your team on track and also to manage files, tasks, projects, and resources in one space.

#7 The Impact Of Ineffective leadership

Lastly, we have a conflict so serious, and might I add so dire, that it can ruin any project plan. Ineffective leadership can be seen in abundance out there. If one is a micromanager, the other will be a completely nonchalant one. 

Ineffective leadership has a big impact on a project. And it could be anything ranging from problems created by a leader who doesn’t know how to execute an agile project to someone who has trouble understanding and implementing proper project scheduling. 

Here’s how you can avoid this situation:

There are some very easy ways in which you can avoid this situation. For instance, you can:

  • Keep track of everything you do as a leader. 
  • Be goal-oriented so everyone can see you and follow in your footsteps.
  • Be the kind of leader that persuades effective communication and gets conflicts resolved. 
  • Try to find solutions for problems in a systematic way (as mentioned above).
  • Be patient with your employees and delegate responsibilities in an efficient way. 

What kind of automation tools can help you?

The kind of tools that can help you become a better leader and a better project manager are ones that can help you with:

  • Time tracking. 
  • Progress mapping. 
  • Tracking resources. 
  • Conducting communication. 
  • Task allocation. 

And, there are multiple amalgams of automation tools that can help you with all of these at the same time. 

ProofHub stands out as the best task management software since it helps in providing descriptions and notes for tasks. In addition to that, it has an interface that can easily help you with assigning tasks, and sharing files. 

With these automation tools, you can make sure that you never need a conflict management plan.

Invest in a task management tool that is customizable and easy-to-use! Get ProofHub today!

That’s A Wrap!

Managing projects is like playing whac-a-mole. You get rid of one problem and another will arise to take up its place. But these conflicts arise for a reason. We must welcome these conflicts because they teach us valuable management lessons.

But there are always ways to avoid these conflicts from forming their roots deep into our well-defined systems. And, I hope I have cleared most of them all up with this article. 

In the end, I would just like to say that keep working through the problems, keep finding and implementing new solutions, and if you do hit a wall, start over as quickly as you can. 

 Sandeep Kashyap
Sandeep Kashyap

Sandeep Kashyap is the Founder and CEO of ProofHub — a leading project management and collaboration software. He’s one person always on a lookout for innovative ideas about filling the communication gap between groups, teams, and organizations. You’ll find him saying, "Let’s go!" instead of "Go!" many times a day. That’s what makes him write about leadership in a way people are inspired to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more.

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