Developer-Client conflict resolution

A professional project manager should be able to resolve the developer-client conflicts effectively and always work on improving mediation skills. Let us share with you a few helpful tips that we use in our practice for resolving the bottlenecks efficiently:

a. As soon as possible call a meeting and listen to each party’s arguments carefully. The formal nature of a meeting opposed to typing in chats helps parties to structure thoughts and present their side extensively and allocate dedicated time to resolve the issue.

b. Besides the meeting, gather as much information as you can (ideally try to restore negotiations chronologically if needed). The more information you have the better you’re equipped to resolve a conflict.

c. Try to find and resolve the root cause of the issue, not a symptom. When you’re facing a conflict, take the time to thoroughly understand what has caused it.

d. Keep in mind that a good share of conflicts occur because a client’s or developer’s ideas, notifications, warnings or suggestions are not being acknowledged as important. Devil is in the details. Taking time to analyze the client’s requirements in order to thoroughly present them to your development team could prevent the great number of conflicts.

e. Find a compromise. Even though you are a part of development team, try to be impartial and offer a solution that may not be ideal, but will allow both parties to move forward.

f. A successful and professional project manager knows when to ask for help. If you truly feel the conflict is beyond your capability to solve, ask your team lead for help. It is important to mention that even mature and experienced project managers might need help from their supervisors, or good advice from colleagues.

g. On of the most effective way to calm down the client side is to use a small conceding. It’s effective in situations where the conceding does not influence the working process (working hours for the task delivery), but is something beneficial for a conflicting customer. On the other hand this technique can harm your reputation and profit, be careful.

Senior PM, Gleb

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