As part of the Advanced Scrum Training, Esther Derby presents a section on conflict. One very insightful part of the presentation is a description of four reasons for the existence of conflict or disagreement. They are as follows (adapted from “Advanced Scrum: Collaboration Skills for Scrum Teams” (c)2004-2005 Esther Derby):
1. Lack of Clarity – the communication between parties is missing information or the information is not being communicated in a consistent manner.
2. Position Focus – the parties involved have already each decided on their own solution and are failing to discuss the problem those solutions are addressing.
3. Different Values – the parties are unable to agree because they are holding different sets of values but not articulating those values as part of the discussion.
4. Past History/Personalities – the parties have a previous unresolved conflict that is negatively affecting their ability to work together.
All of these types of conflict are based on either conscious or unconscious failure to be truthful… and therefore the different parties have incompatible perceptions of reality. The Agile Work axiom “Reality is Perceived” then gives us a hint as to how to resolve all of these types of conflict. Find a way to share perception among the parties in conflict so that they have a compatible view of reality.