Negotiation in Project Management

Nearly every project taken on by the project team requires some negotiation. Ideally, decisions would be reached easily with everyone in agreement for what is best for the project and all involved, but sometimes one side might be trying to get the better of the other. In these instances it pays to have a full understanding of the processes of negotiation.

Here are some guidelines to consider when negotiating.

  1. Having high aspirations will lead to a more successful negotiation.
  2. Do not reveal your initial position.
  3. Think about concessions before making them.
  4. Ask questions to find out more about the other side’s position.
  5. Be discreet and only reveal the information necessary at the time.
  6. Check to see there is proof behind any assumptions being made.
  7. Take your time. Quick settlements aren’t always the best ones.
  8. Develop a plan beforehand to improve performance during a negotiation.
  9. Stick to the plan and stay focused throughout the entire process.
  10. Use power-play sparingly or retaliation could follow.
  11. Know when to walk-away and say, “No Deal”.

All too often, negotiations end poorly, but by using the guidelines above you should be on your way to a successful negotiation that meets the needs of all participants.

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1 Comment

  1. Personally I don’t agree with few of your points.

    2. This one is a classic way to make negotiations long. Sometimes you don’t have any other choice but to play the game step by step and you’ll end up halfway there as everyone expected. However if you keep in mind your last point it doesn’t have to be long and painful process and you can be fairly honest about your positions and expectations.

    7. I consider lengthening negotiations just for the sake of negotiating as it was written in books as a waste of time. Very often you can present your position in a manner that shows there isn’t much place to cut the price/deadline/functionality more because it’s already cheap/quick/rich. Very often time you lose negotiating isn’t worth a handful of bucks you get at the end.

    And I’d put the last one on the very beginning of the list since I believe this is the most important thing whenever you start negotiating anything. If you aren’t ready to walk away you’ll always end up squeezed.

    By the way I recenly wrote about my negotiation rules.

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