A conflict in an Agile team, usually indicates that the members are actively involved in the team. They either try to drive a change accordingly or raise an issue against the actions of other team members. Conflicts help the teams become more mature and effective. However, resolving a conflict between the team members is becoming more like an umpire between two fighting teams. It is the Agile team, who is responsible for making everybody agree to choose a right solution.
The way of handling conflicts is called conflict style. In the year of 1972, Thomas-Kilmann introduced different styles of conflict resolution. At an initial stage, it is vital to understand the different conflict styles before developing strategies for handling the disputes. The five conflict resolution styles introduced by Thomas-Kilmann are Competing, Accommodating, Avoiding, Compromising, and Collaborating.
Conflict can be a positive factor if it is resolved potentially. If a conflict is not handled properly, it affects the project by damaging targets, breaking down the teamwork, and eventually the team members disengage themselves from their work. Resolving conflicts successfully will not only help teams solve many issues, but also offer many benefits that are not even expected at first. The benefits of conflict resolution are as follows:
Discussion on resolving a conflict allow teams to know each other, mount up awareness and search the best talent from the ideas coming out from the team members.
Increased team cohesion:
After dispute resolution, team members form stronger mutual coordination and increase the ability to work together.
Conflict resolution helps members examine the issue deeply, which enhances their knowledge, sharpens the target, and elevates productivity.
But the question is how to facilitate an effective conflict resolution? Following are the possible conflict management techniques, that can help teams manage the disputes smoothly.
1) Engage in personal coaching:
- Good relationship among team members is important. So always try to treat the members calmly and politely, take efforts in building a mutual respect and always be constructive while separating people and the associated problems.
- Always pay heed to the root cause. Listen carefully and act.
- Welcome ideas from the team members to reach to a proper solution.
2. Mentor a team through a conflict resolution process:
This conflict resolution technique consists of four steps.
- Step 1- Set the scene.
Initially, you need to identify the recurrent conflict patterns within the team. Guide a team to make them understand that conflict is a common problem and it can be solved by using an assertive approach rather than being aggressive.
- Step 2- Gather Information.
Secondly, listen to others’ point of view and always respect their decisions. Gather information from the team, understand the conflict deeply and try to find a solution.
- Step 3- Brainstorm to find out a solution.
Arrange spontaneous group discussions to share the ideas on any tasks.
- Step 4- Confer a solution.
This is the last stage in conflict resolution. Through this step, the hurdles may be removed. Follow the “Be calm, be patient, have respect” principle throughout.
Conflicts in an Agile team are considered as the sign of a group of people working in collaboration. Sometimes conflicts are destructive if not handled properly. Positive and assertive approaches help resolve a conflict peacefully, with non-confrontational discussions. Generally, conflicts are resolved effectively when team members try to explore issues and possible solutions and listen carefully to the other members in the team.