Dispute Prevention and Resolution in Project Management

2. 4. 2019

Preventing disputes alongside the development of a reliable program for dispute resolution is mandatory for any project in the modern world. The following paper aims at discussing dispute prevention alongside resolutions in project management. The article will analyze the concept of dispute in a project management perspective and will include causes and types of conflicts witnessed in projects. The paper will also discuss dispute resolution procedures that aim at ensuring the overall success of any project. Since disputes are inevitable in any project team, the paper will ensure analysis of a dispute resolution program in project management. Additionally, any necessary and beneficial concepts and aspects surrounding the topic will be included in the article to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the topic.

Disputes and disagreements are inevitable in any group or organization due to ideological differences and variation in opinions. In any project, the project team tends to argue on various issues affecting the project resulting in disputes that may negatively affect the overall success of the particular project. Therefore, it is important for project managers to develop strategies for preventing any dispute within the project team to ensure successful completion of projects ("How To Avoid Disputes And Build Better" 2018). On the other hand, if the prevention strategies fail, it is important for the project management clue to have reliable and effective dispute resolution programs that will ensure the particular disputes are resolved in the best way possible to avoid project failures and negative effects that disputes may bring. Therefore, it is important for project managers to understand disputes and critical issues regarding the concept to ensure effective prevention and resolution in a project management perspective.

Understanding Disputes in Project Management

By definition, a dispute refers to an argument or a disagreement between two parties over an issue (Barry and Leite 2015). In the project management perspective, disputes involve disagreements or arguments within the project team. Project team members may disagree or argue among themselves or against project leaders. Such occurrences are normal and inevitable given the individual differences which are part of human nature. Disputes in a project are caused by disagreements on project issues that include costs, roles and responsibilities, project scope, project deliverables, project team selection, among any other project related aspects (Barry and Leite 2015). It is important to note that disputes in a project may influence the success of the project. However, if disputes are not resolved in the right manner, they may negatively affect the overall outcomes of the project leading to project failure. Therefore, dispute prevention should be a critical factor that should be considered in project management to ensure project success.

How to Prevent Disputes in Projects

Project managers and business stakeholders have a key role in running projects. Knowing the effects that disputes can have on project success, managers need to ensure they prevent disputes at all costs. The following are three key ways in which project disputes can be prevented.

Effective Communication  Communication is a key factor in ensuring understanding between people and groups. Disputes arise when parties cannot understand each other on specific issues due to lack of effective communication channels. Therefore, project managers need to ensure that the project teams understand all issues regarding the project to avoid misinterpretation and misunderstanding. When all project team members know their roles and all key aspects of the project, disputes will be prevented.

Inclusive Planning  Planning is the fundamental step in project management. However, if the planning phase is only done by the project leaders, questions will arise on some issues resulting in disputes. Therefore, to prevent such kind of disputes, project leaders should ensure that the entire project team is included in the planning phase to ensure participation in decision making regarding project aspects. If all are involved, disputes will be prevented because each member or team will be comfortable with the project decisions.

Contract Agreement – To prevent project disputes regarding project schedule, objectives, and expectations, all project team members would be notified on project contract agreement (Manuele 1993). Knowing what is required of them will ensure that no disputes occur due to a misunderstanding of the agreement.

Project Dispute Resolution Program

There are three key dispute resolution methods that include negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. Each of the methods is applied in dispute resolution depending on the nature of the dispute. However, the recommended program for resolving disputes in projects aim to combine two methods that will ensure a fast and reliable resolution of ay project dispute that could not be prevented through the above ways (Manuele 1993).

The Resolution Program – The program intends to combine both mediation and negotiation tools/methods of dispute resolution. Project managers will be tasked with the control and management of the program. Mediation will be applied when the dispute is between two project team members. Negotiation will be applied when the dispute is between project teams and the senior project management personnel (V 2013). However, in any resolution method, the cause of the dispute will be identified followed by an analysis of each parties’ side of the story. An agreement will then be made based on facts of the story to ensure the decision does not favor any side and each party is happy and comfortable with the final decision. It is important to note that the program will ensure disputes are resolved in the shortest time possible to ensure the project is completed within the stipulated time. Additionally, the program will guarantee cooperation and unity among project team members hence the overall success of project management and the particular project in achieving the key objectives and goals.

Author: Asma Talal Hamdan, student at LIGS University


"How To Avoid Disputes And Build Better". 2018. Queensland Building And Construction Commission. Retrieve from: http://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/building-or-renovating/how-avoid-disputes-build-better.

Barry, William, and Fernanda Leite. 2015. "Late Deliverables To Construction: How Understanding The Impacts Can Benefit Dispute Prevention And Resolution". Journal Of Legal Affairs And Dispute Resolution In Engineering And Construction 7 (2): 04514004. doi:10.1061/(asce)la.1943-4170.0000153.

Manuele, Vincent O. 1993. "Alternative Contracting Strategies For Controlling Costs And Avoiding Performance Disputes On Remediation Projects". Remediation Journal 4 (1): 23-41. doi:10.1002/rem.3440040103.

V, Benova. 2013. "Negotiations As One Of The Methods Of Alternative Dispute Resolution: Definition, Strategies, Stages". Russian Law 2013 (1): 94-99. doi:10.18572/1811-9077/2013-1-94-99.

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