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A common misconception is that careful adherence to and management of a contract will prevent contract disputes. Experience has shown us that even well managed contractual relationships experience unresolved issues that develop into contract claims. Some are minor and are quickly resolved, but others, like an untended field taken over by weeds and thickets, will be consumed by wasteful conflict and arguments. High risk contracts, such as those with aggressive milestones and demanding scheduling requirements, are particularly vulnerable to unresolved claim conditions.

It is a given, an axiom if you will, that disputes such as these are resolved with more success when the parties directly involved with the dispute negotiate a compromise where both parties derives a benefit that is deemed acceptable and of sufficient value to allow the work to progress and the relationship to be preserved.

Sometimes those two objectives require the assistance of an impartial third party to mediate the dispute. The emphasis needs to be on mediation rather than arbitration or litigation, as neither of these will accomplish the dual goals of assuring progress of the work and preserving the relationship.