Mediation is well established as an alternative means of dispute resolution where an independent and impartial facilitator assists and guides parties towards a mutually acceptable outcome. The great advantage of mediation is that no party can be compelled to agree, but once agreement is reached it is contractually binding and an effective alternative to litigation. Apart from significant cost savings, mediation offers the prospect of a solution acceptable to both parties whereas litigation often results in neither party being entirely happy with the outcome and may result in long-term damage to commercial relationships.
Conventionally mediation is used to help settle litigation that is already underway, however there is a growing realisation that mediation can be applied pre-emptively. Project mediation is designed to help support the successful delivery of a project by identifying and addressing problems before they turn into disputes about payment and delay. It enables conflict management and dispute resolution to be integrated into the contract as part of a collaborative contracting approach and can be used for almost any project.
The benefits of project mediation are that it:
- offers a robust conflict management approach with a focus on dispute prevention
- is more flexible and cost effective than other conflict management mechanisms
- can be budgeted for in advance
- shows that parties are taking collaborative working seriously
- is acceptable to both parties
So what has that got to do with me?
Well, I am an experienced and capable Project Planner. I have practiced, and earned an excellent reputation, in most aspects of project planning across diverse sectors and can thus empathise with both client and contractor’s planners and the factors that affect the quality of their plans. I’m particularly aware of the issues caused by poor specifications, ineffective communications and excessive change.
Latterly I have been involved in forensic analysis to support either side of contractual claims and this has reinforced my natural desire to find compromises for problems rather than the usual confrontational approach where neither side really wins, seeking merely to limit their losses at the other’s expense. In consequence I have invested time, effort and money and trained as a mediator, culminating in an exhaustive (and exhausting) assessment by CEDR, the foremost organisation for alternative dispute resolution, who have now accredited me. Whilst there may be many mediators who grasp the concepts of project planning, there are few, if any, other project planners who are also mediators, and this is a shortfall I intend to address.
If you’d like to know more about mediation options and what Project Pilots can offer to help your project on the road to success, then contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.