PMBOK® Guide, 4th Edition
9.4 Manage Project Team
188.8.131.52 Conflict Management
In discussing the project environment, we have purposely avoided discussion of what may be its single most important characteristic: conflicts. Opponents of project management assert that the major reason why many companies avoid changeover to a project management organizational structure is either fear or an inability to handle the resulting conflicts. Conflicts are a way of life in a project structure and can generally occur at any level in the organization, usually as a result of conflicting objectives.
The project manager has often been described as a conflict manager. In many organizations the project manager continually fights fires and crises evolving from conflicts, and delegates the day-to-day responsibility of running the project to the project team members. Although this is not the best situation, it cannot always be prevented, especially after organizational restructuring or the initiation of projects requiring new resources.
The ability to handle conflicts requires an understanding of why they occur. Asking and answering these four questions may help handle and prevent conflicts.