Who Resolves Conflict in Agile and How
If not resolved at an early stage, conflict in Agile can negatively impact the final version of the project. A detailed, mutual solution should get worked out as quickly as possible.
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The most prominent way to resolve conflict in Agile is first to normalize it. Often, conflicts are wrongly looked upon as threats to the product and the team. This view should be discouraged by the Agile project leader and the other team members.
Extra effort is needed to address conflict in the right manner. The resolution process should stay constructive throughout and each team member’s contribution should be appreciated.
There are certain techniques that Agile leaders and teams should and should not use when resolving conflict. Let's go over them.
Who Resolves Conflict in Agile
Ideally, no single person should be held solely responsible for resolving conflict in Agile. Conflict resolution should be the entire team’s task. It should, thus, be approached collaboratively.
On the technical side, the Scrum Master plays a vital role in mentoring the development team. If the development team determines the origin of the conflict, they might also try to resolve it. This occurs under the supervision of the Scrum Master if it gets escalated as an impediment.
Often, a situation arises where the Scrum team fails to interact with honesty and openness due to prevailing disagreements. Therefore, the Scrum Master should actively mediate during the resolution process to initiate the discussion. Their job is to both educate the Agile team about Scrum and ensure everything is running smoothly on their team.
How to Resolve Conflict in Agile
When a conflict arises due to multiple issues, you should not address them all at once. Instead, you should follow a precise method for getting to the heart of the disagreement and resolving it. This five-step process is discussed below.
1. Take the Initiative
During a conflict, team members often struggle to put forward their opinion. It could be because of the fear that their feedback will be met with criticism. Personal rivalries between team members could be another reason.
The project leader is expected to take the initiative in the discussion to overcome such issues. They should be straightforward and polite while breaking the ice. The team will open up once they see that they are in a safe space.
2. Identify the Problem
The next step is quite obvious: Identify the problem. Each team member should get a fair chance to raise their opinions. The problem should be viewed through multiple perspectives with team cooperation.
It should be the responsibility of the project leader to ensure a fair code of conduct. Any unnecessary interruptions should be barred. Once all the pros and cons are on the table, you can move onto the next step.
3. Learn Why the Problem Arose
Now, this could be the most crucial step in the entire process. The reason for the problem is a difficult, yet essential, discussion. Again, everyone should be heard with open ears.
The fundamental task here is to educate the team members about their ultimate goal. The conflict’s origin doesn’t matter, but there should be a common goal to be achieved by the team. The project leader should always remind the team of their goal. It will help the team develop a sense of camaraderie, as they are all working toward the same objective.
4. Find a Way to Overcome the Problem
Once the problem has been addressed, come up with a detailed set of solutions for the team. The smaller, less complicated problems should quickly be take care of at the beginning of the discussion. This way, the team will feel accomplished at the beginning of the process and build up a head of steam. It will also help their productivity. More significant issues can get discussed toward the end.
5. Conclude the Discussion and Distribute Tasks
This step is often rushed; this is a mistake. The entire discussion will eventually prove to be worthless if it is not appropriately concluded. It should be the project leader’s duty to briefly repeat the problems and relevant solutions that were addressed during the meeting.
Final Wrap Up
A conflict can get classified as easy, intermediate, and complex. It depends on the degree of disagreement and resistance towards a collateral solution by the team members.
If not resolved at an early stage, conflict in Agile can negatively impact the final version of the project. Therefore, mutual consent on a detailed solution should get worked out as quickly as possible.
Published at DZone with permission of Naveen Kumar Singh. See the original article here.
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