The project manager will conduct two sets of negotiations, one with the project customer and another with the various function managers who control the workers needed for the project.
Negotiating with the Customer
Negotiations with a customer occur at a project's outset and are done to arrive at a project's specification. It would seem to be a straightforward task: The customer explains what is wanted, and the project manager captures it in the specification and goes ahead with the project. This is not always the case, however. Some customers may come up with only a fuzzy idea of their desired product and may need help from the project manager to discover what is possible to be produced for them. This is where negotiating enters in the process: The project manager identifies the various tradeoffs to the customer and negotiates decisions regarding these tradeoffs.
The customer may not understand project feasibility, or what can and cannot be produced and also may have come up with time and cost expectations that are inconsistent with what experience dictates. Resolving these types of problems also requires negotiating.
Basically, the key to negotiating is to clearly identify the needs of the person with whom you are negotiating. Then, you must tell this person exactly how you propose to meet those needs, discover the constraints limiting their efforts to help you meet those needs, and discover what they would accept as an incentive for their help.
It is important never to negotiate with a chip on your shoulder. The person being negotiated with is a collaborator, not an adversary. The more a project manager can help this person, the more successful he or she will be in achieving desired goals.
Negotiating with Resource Managers
These negotiations center on borrowing the desired workers needed for the project from their respective resource managers. In so doing, it is desirable to involve the manager as much as possible in the project, for a manager who feels involved in the project will be more likely to encourage his or her staff to participate. If the desired employee is already over-committed, the involved manager will likely cooperate in helping to find a second choice. Such negotiations will work if the project is of high priority to the organization. If not, the project may have to be delayed.
The critical thing to remember is that negotiations involve give as well as take. A project manager must be prepared to provide everything possible in return for the necessary help.