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Feedback please – preparation for negotiation practice exam question

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 8th July 2018

List & describe 5 things a PM might do to prepare for a negotiation

5 things that a project manager (PM ) might do to prepare ofr a negotiation are:
1) Thoroughly brief and prepare the team that will be involved in the negotiation
2) Research the situation and viewpoint of the other party
3) Consider the range of acceptable outcomes
4) Research and understand the power relationships in the negotiation
5) Prepare the logistics

1) The team must be thoroughly briefed in the situation in order that everyone has the same understanding and intentions for the negotiation, and that there are no internal divergences of opinions or different ideas in the meeting. Once all of the planning and pre for the negotiation has been undertaken, the PM must ensure that there is common understanding & consensus.

2) The PM must research the viewpoint of the other party. By doing this, they will better understand the other party’s motivations and rationale, which might mean that the PM can more speedily reach an acceptable solution. Understanding “what’s in it for them”, and the context & constraints in which the other party are operating will increase the likelihood of reaching agreement.

3) The PM must consider what are acceptable outcomes of the negotiation. This will include consideration of what is the absolute bottom line that can be accepted, and what is the best alternative to a negotiated agreement, if agreement simply cannot be reached. Consideration of these points before the meeting will reduce the likelihood of agreeing under pressure to something that is less than what is needed.

4) Understand the power relationships in the negotiation, as this will affect how the negotiation is conducted, and how resolute the PM can be. If, for example, the PM is negotiating with government ministers, they will have much less power and have to be much more accommodating than when negotiating with an underperforming contractor.

5) The PM should prepare the logistics of the meeting. For example, the location of the meeting (whether on neutral territory, or in the location of one of the two parties) will hugely affect the way that the negotiation will take place (“home turf” allowing that party to be more comfortable and more powerful). They should also consider whether or not to bring in a third party arbitrator, which could potentially cost money, but would assist in removing personal feelings from discussion and make it less subjective.

(18 mins)

  1. Paul says:

    Good answer as far as it goes, but you will need more here to score full marks. Take number 3 for example, needs an example and putting it into context. What you have is not wrong, just not enough.

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