Conflict still happen in business, even if you have contract that govern the enagement.
Heavy weight contracts prescribe so much that it suffocates the rhythm and flow of natural human interaction, and give rise to distrust.
Loosely worded contracts that are vague and blase depends on high trust between both parties to be reasonable during the engagement, or it could very quickly head into a legal quagmire that nobody wants.
The happy medium is the way to go.
Clear concise language that articulates what is to be delivered, covering the who/what/when/how (to the extent that it impacts the cost), how much, as well as details on acceptance procedure, and change management (along with the teeny Ts&Cs font).
Once project is in flight – I tend to make sure that it stays on course by having frequent check-in calls with my counterpart on client side.
“Temperature-check” they call it.
It’s like a “sprint retrospective” (if we are doing proper agile, which we normally are not), but more at PM level, as we are the ones who can influence the course of the project.
I listen to what they think have gone well, and what could be improved.
Their observations, their frustrations, their moments of win.
Then it’s my turn to share my candid thoughts of how things went, what we need to celebrate more of, and what we can change for the better.
After that, we jointly outline a plan to make the corrections (if necessary)
There may still be disagreements moving forward but mutual respect and understanding makes it a more comfortable ride during this bumpy journey.