Advice on Exam Question

Paul Naybour

Q. List and describe 5 things a project manager might do to prepare for a negotiation. (50 marks)

Here my first instinct is to explain the negotiation process, however upon further thinking I believe that this question is asking for details of the planning phase?

Off the top of my head I can only think of WIFT and BATNA which can only get me 20 marks tops as it is 2 points. What about the remaining 3 points? The study guide only provides 1 sentence points without elaborating on them. Is it as simple as picking these 3 points and using my own interpretation when elaborating and padding it out to get 10 marks for each point?

For example how can I beef up my answer if I was to state “what is the absolute bottom line that we can accept?” I can pad it out with examples and personal experience but not confident enough to gain 10 marks for this….

Perhaps I could over thinking and it is as easy as that or perhaps I have misunderstood the question entirely…

1 thought on “Advice on Exam Question”

  1. Five things a project manager might do to prepare for a negotiation? It’s one of those questions that are not directly in the syllabus and they are asking you to think about it.

    It’s a simple question, maybe you over thinking it. Imagine you about to sit down with one of your contractors to negotiate a change. What would you do?

    1) Decide what you want from the negotiation. This will involve consulting senior managers and other people in your organisation.
    2) Get your facts straight. Review the contract? Look at any relevant communications, e-mails etc? Talk to the necessary people on the ground?
    3) Think through what the other side wants? What is there minimum? What can I offer to them to resolve the conflict?

    4) Who should I take to be meeting? Can I go on my own? Do I need procurement or legal support? Do I have the necessary authority to negotiate?

    5) Were should the negotiation take place? Should I go to them? Or should it be in a neutral place? How long do we need? Can it be done in one meeting or do we need several? Who is going to have to approve the outcome?

    There are a few questions about like this. Another is how would you resolve resourcing problems in a project. They are not directly from the syllabus but they are asking you to apply your knowledge in a closely related area. In some ways, they are easier, because there is no wrong answer.

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