Negotiating for Success: Are You Prepared?

handshakeThe results delivered by projects depend upon what you negotiate.  A “secret” employed by successful project leaders is that they explore a perspective, principles, tools, and recommendations to achieve better results through the power of negotiations. They avoid being set up for failure by recognizing and developing skills that lead to greater success.

Every day involves negotiations:  what to buy, how much to pay, where to go, what to do, how to solve problems, agree on requirements, get the right resources,….  Are you fully equipped to get the best outcomes possible?  What if you could improve your negotiating abilities by at least ten percent?  Take the time now to develop negotiating skills and reap the benefits.  Imagine how much better off you’ll be over the course of your lifetime when you negotiate clear success criteria and set yourself up for success instead of failure.

It is important to embrace a mindset that everything about a project is negotiable and that a project leader needs to be a skilled negotiator.  Right up front is the necessity to define project success and establish desired outcomes. With an intention to negotiate in mind, review basic negotiation principles, including how to use the four basic forces in every negotiation:  power, information, timing, and approach.  Understand and use negotiating techniques as a means to move people from stalemate to solution.

Use this list of topics to determine if you are prepared to negotiate:

  • Recognize when something can be negotiated.
  • Muster the courage and fortitude to negotiate the definition of project success with key stakeholders
  • Prepare for a negotiation.
  • Identify ten rules of negotiating.
  • Use basic negotiation principles.
  • Apply a Negotiation Lifecycle.
  • Use the four basic forces in every negotiation.
  • Create effective alternatives for reaching a successful agreement.
  • Move people from ineffective negotiating strategies and tactics to more cooperative and mutually beneficial approaches.
  • Deal with negotiation deadlines.
  • Develop acceptable concessions.
  • Skillfully use power, information, and timing in a negotiation.
  • Develop an effective negotiation plan.
  • Understand the human side of negotiation.
  • Bring a negotiation to a successful close.

If these topics appear unfamiliar, consider reading Fisher and Ury’s book on Getting to Yes: How to Negotiate Agreement Without Giving In or signing up for the UCSC Extension course on negotiating.  This effort will change your life.

Randy Englund, Englund Project Management Consultancy,


2 thoughts on “Negotiating for Success: Are You Prepared?”

  1. User Avatar

    Yes, one key rule of negotiating is to know your limits beyond which you will not concede. And that definitely applies to the triple constraints of project management. A good project manager seeks to establish and deliver to a clear set of constraints. On the other hand, standing too firm when, in reality, there is a need for flexibility or when the situation changes and the project should change as well, may lead to completing a useless project.

    So my advice is, apply guidelines, not rules.

    Randy Englund

  2. Hi,

    Yes everything on a project is “Negotiable” but a good project manager knows where to draw the line and ensure that some things remain sacrosant. Otherwise they will quickly discover that they are being asked to deliver the Sun, Moon and Stars, on a budget of peanuts!

    So negotiate by all means, just remember to stand firm on key scope and deliverables.


    Susan de Sousa
    Site Editor

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