Ireland Chapter of PMI

Negotiation Skills for Project Managers

Negotiation Skills for Project Managers
by David O'Brien

Watch the webinar here

Many researches show that team engagement helps to increase the most vital attributes of teams, including productivity, creativity, performance, product quality, innovation, talent acquisition and talent retention.*[1] In other words, team engagement unlocks the potential of the teams. When we look at the structure of the teams, we see that over the last decades, teams have actually changed a lot.
As a Project Manager, there are many ways that you could complete a project. As you know, preparation and planning are key. Skills and experience will undoubtedly increase your chances of success. And while being able to create a project schedule is one key skill, equally, being able to problem solve and negotiate in favour of your project, is another.

It constantly amazes me how two people can walk into a room, discuss a topic and one person leaves much better off than before they entered. Perhaps this is because the other party didn’t realise that they were entering into a negotiation. For a Project Manager, almost every conversation is a negotiation. Some are more important than others, but all follow the same ground-rules. Understanding those ground-rules in advance and being able to navigate the terrain will tip the odds in your favour.

That’s what I set out to achieve in my webinar on Negotiation for Project Managers. I wanted to show how Project Managers can identify the various negotiable elements within a project conversation, problem solve the situation and emerge successful. Such an outcome should not be at the mercy of a preexisting relationship, the current circumstances or someone’s mood at the time. As you already understood your counterparts needs, they can happily report their success to the project stakeholders. It’s a win-win.

In the webinar, we go beyond the basics of determining the Stretch Goals, Reservation Price and your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) to figure out that the best outcomes occur in the Zone of Potential Agreement (ZOPA). This is then put into practice, with real project examples.

Next, a five stage Negotiation process is laid out to achieve this success;

  • Prepare,
  • Collect Information,
  • Bargaining,
  • Concluding and
  • Execution.

You will learn how to properly prepare for both formal & informal negotiations. Rituals that you can use to set everyone at ease and set the tone of a negotiation.

The various places that you can find insightful information are discussed.

Surprising practices are listed which will ensure your success at both the formal negotiation table and the informal coffee table chats. You will be shown how to deflect problems and build commitment through choice.

Practical steps on concluding and cementing agreements are discussed and then for a Project Manager, that’s when the real work begins; the beginning of the project itself.

This webinar is built on resources ranging from PMI PMBOK & Harvard’s Program on Negotiation (PON) to a multitude of books on the subject and also based on personal experience.

I hope that you find this PMI webinar both engaging and informative.

David O'Brien

Senior Project Manager, PMP, SAFe Practitioner and Scrum Master


With over 20 years experience and with over 20 successful, large scale, high value projects behind him, David O'Brien is a project manager who can deliver. He has done this either by applying the PMBOK® principles to Waterfall projects or utilising the project management skillset to large and small Agile projects. David has worked worldwide either implementing projects or guiding other project manager to do the same as a Director of a PMO. David is a certified PMP, SAFe Practitioner and Scrum Master, as well as holding numerous accreditations from online business courses. He is forever trying to learn sometime new, usually focusing on complimentary Project Management skills from System Thinking to Negotiation to Business Process Optimisation. Negotiation is his number one interest after Project Management, and he believes that he can offer a lot to the audience.