Managing Conflicts in Projects: Applying Mindfulness and Analysis for Optimal Results


managing-conflict-in-projectsBook Title:  Managing Conflicts in Projects: Applying Mindfulness and Analysis for Optimal Results

Author:  George Pitagorsky, PMP

Publisher:  Project Management Institute

List Price:   US$ 29.95

Format:  soft cover, 132 pages       Publication Date:   2012

ISBN: 978-1-935589-58-7

Reviewer: Lakshmi Subramanian

Review Date:              10, April 2013 


Introduction to the Book

Excellent read! The author has done complete justice to blending the art and science of managing conflicts. The focus is on stepping back and looking at conflicts objectively, and on analyzing the positions, wants, interests and needs of all the stakeholders. The emphasis to understand and analyze the context of the conflict and categorizing the type of conflict, organization and people that one is dealing with, is quite interesting.

An open mind would gain maximum benefits from this book. While it is an easy read, there is a lot of information to assimilate in every page and one will probably want to read it a couple of times, before one can try and test all the wisdom packed in this deceitfully simple book.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The book is laid out in a logical structure, setting the ground for what one can expect from this book. The author clarifies that there is no one formula or a cook book approach to conflict management. He emphasizes on mindfulness which helps maintain relationships and at the same time focuses on resolving conflict for Optimal Performance. This is followed by a detailed view of the different Causes and Types of Conflicts, Project Life Implications and Stakeholders and their Roles. The foundation concepts of keeping practicality in mind, common overriding objectives, Values, Adaptability and Situational Management, Objectivity and Mindfulness, set the stage for the following chapters on Conflict Management Process.

Analyzing the nature of conflict is explained with good analogies and the section on Communications plan emphasizes how Conflict Management hinges on effective communication. This is then followed by Categories of Conflict, the knowledge of which will be useful to address the underlying issues behind the conflict. The Attributes of Conflicts such as Complexity, Intensity, and Reversibility, to name a few, are discussed in great detail. The author challenges the reader to understand conflict styles and approaches, the behavioral models and when to use which mode. One learns that Emotional Intelligence and Cognitive Analysis can be powerful tools in Conflict Management.

The latter part of the book explains the techniques for building rapport and soft skills, how to read and use non-verbal cues and body language. Dialog, Debate, Decision making and Negotiation are listed as approaches to Resolving Conflict. The final chapters discuss ways to close conflicts such as Escalation and Agreeing to Disagree. One would also appreciate the section on identifying false closures and avoiding them. Closure also includes communicating the results from the process, taking action and assessing the conflict management process. 


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About the Reviewer

flag-indialakshmi-subramanianLakshmi Subramanian

Lakshmi Subramanian, PMP, has 10 years of varied and valuable experience serving the IT and IT Enabled Services industry. She has a Bachelors in Commerce, Masters in Computer Applications and Diploma in Business Management and is a proud member of the Dallas PMI Chapter. Lakshmi is currently working for a Telecom Major in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas, USA. Lakshmi can be contacted at [email protected]. 

Editor’s note:  This book review was the result of cooperation between the publisher, PM World Inc and the Dallas Chapter of the Project Management Institute (www.pmidallas.org). Publishers provide books to PM World, books are delivered to the PMI Dallas Chapter where they are given to chapter members who commit to providing a book review in a standard format; the reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library.  Since PMI Dallas Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, they represent the intended audience for most PM books.  If you are an author or publisher of a book related to program or project management, and would like the book reviewed through this program, please contact [email protected].