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Topics: Communications Management, Stakeholder Management, Strategy
What is a leading cause of friction within your project team?

Most people will answer communication. I have found it to be the "gulf of evaluation" which is closely related.
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I would vote for Priorities and Communication.

Toxic behavior. Not now, but in the past. Sometimes it is friction that is caused by external sources, like another team involved in the same program. So not friction within, but underlying friction.

Some of ours is culture. On my last team we we're quite multicultural. Korean, Chinese, Indian, Phiillipino. We did have some related friction at times. Other friction has been the result of roles and priorities. And differing work ethics.

Your questions specifically asks about the friction "within" the project team. Of course there are external factors that presents friction. But within the team, it is often those pesky subject matter experts. having worked in technology for 20+ years, I have found that many technical experts have the belief that project management is simply overhead and is unnecessary to complete projects. But as PM professionals we know that our job is to drive project success based on the predefined criteria (i.e. scope) and predefined constraints. SMEs sometimes either within hold relevant project information. Provide unrealistic estimates. Or lacks the respect of the project management discipline. This is what need to be managed to reduce the friction.

Top management attitude towards creating conflicts to have more control and insights.

Interesting comments here thus far. I guess another subset of this question is what level of friction is acceptable, and when something must be done about it. In many respects a healthy level of friction can be a good thing.

Sante, I would say lack of lubrication, this is a natural result if you don't have a good prelube system to minimize the differences of cultural clashes and eliminate the bureaucratic toxic behavioral attitudes within the organization. as PM always need to smooth and that's the lubrication among the team, the contractors and other stakeholders.

I believe here gulf of evaluation means people with difference of opinion being not open to others ideas, in which case I do find it to be largely the true reason for friction. At times different parties evaluate the probability or severity of some future event to different values and argue over it at length as if stronger emphasis will convert future anticipation to current reality. Sometimes there is an urge in people to simply win the argument irrespective of consequences. At times it may be a good idea to just let it go, and not lose the war to win a battle.

I am currently working on Program that was set with "two in a box" management structure, pairing the client with the service provider. While the team from both sides main objective is to deliver the Program successfully, there are naturally differences in the underlying priorities and interests of each team. The challenge is to work through these different interest to achieve the best possible outcome in the most ethical and professional manner.
1 reply by Sante Vergini
Apr 28, 2018 5:11 PM
Sante Vergini
Amany, that is a pretty common situation with two teams from different organizations working together, and a challenge to manage.

Wrong perception of priorities by fellow peer managers and wrong interpretation of 'work on priority tasks only'.

If a person's manager's manager is tracking one of the task that this person has to handle, that does not mean that the task being tracked by super-boss/sponsor is the only 'priority' task and one has to work only on that 'single' task in an environment when everyone in the organisation is multi-tasked.

I see many managers focussing only on such a single task with the incorrect perception of 'priority task' and incorrect interpretation of 'work only on priority' task.

Rather, the rule should be interpreted as 'work on the prominent task' for a major portion off the day, yet, pay attention to all other multi-tasks that a manager is supposed to handle in the day.
1 reply by Kavitha Gunasekaran
Apr 29, 2018 4:59 AM
Kavitha Gunasekaran
I completely agree. This is where all the priority clashes happen.
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