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Superb Contract Negotiation Skills that May Not Be Needed

… if you do things differently. For example, consider the following conversation:

Client: I need to implement XYZ feature on top of agreed upon requirements. I would expect that the deadline is not changed.  Your team is working on my project for last 6 months but now the business dynamics have changed so this feature needs to be accommodated.

Project Manager: Well, this feature does not fall into the project scope.  Theoretically, we should not do any changes in the agreed upon requirements if we want to meet the deadline. If you are ready to change the deadline, I can analyze its impact, raise a ‘Change Request’ and send it to you for the approval.

Client: Agree, but this feature is very important from the business perspective. I cannot afford NOT to have it by the deadline.  Can you not add more resources and get it done?

Project Manager: Adding resources will take time. I need to contact the department that controls resources and that will take some time. It cannot be added overnight.  I can request some of the resources to work overtime however then the additional rates will be applied for this change request.

Client: You do not understand my problem. I have a specific budget and I cannot afford it at this much higher rates. Can you not do it in the normal rates?

Project Manager: Of course I would do it if I could however it is beyond my control. Please put your legs in my shoes and look at this situation from my perspective.

… and the contract negotiation goes on.  Here, Project Manager and the client are on the opposite sides. They are fighting for their own interest. That’s not agile.

In agile, there is no push. People are on the same side; working towards achieving the same goal. Agile focuses on client collaboration. You agree to work upon a fixed amount of time and allow the client to change the scope for all the items except work-in-progress.

You deliver early. You deliver often. You keep improving. You retrospect and keep aligning your skills and strategies with business expectations.

Clients love it. Suppliers love it.  People love it.

Contract negotiation is a great skill practiced by many project managers. Agile has easier alternatives which ensure win-win. Choice matters.