While many variables contribute to project conflict, prime contributors are the people, tasks, and sequential challenges inherent in the various stages of the project life cycle. The project manager should be aware of the potential sources of conflict found in each project stage.
Project Initiation Phase
In the initial phase of the project, the project manager attends to all aspects required to begin a major piece of work. Tasks include identifying key resources or required personnel, determining project success criteria, specifying required technology, and clarifying roles and responsibilities as well as policies and procedures.
As Meredith and Mantel (2003) state, it is crucial for the project manager, during the initial phases of the project, to encourage everyone to address conflict openly. Team members take their cues from the project leader at this formative phase. If the project manager is sending the message that conflict should be avoided, then team members will respond accordingly. This is particularly true when the team members are more junior or when they have a diminished sense of their own self-concept or competencies.
During the initiation phase, the project manager can establish a good precedent for handling conflict by serving as an example
by Steven W. Flannes Ph.D., Ginger Levin, DPA