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Getting to Yes – with Requirements!

Negotiation is an important part of getting any project right. It’s rare for a project not to have any conflicting priorities or competing objectives. How do we handle this as business analysts? We typically have to work as negotiators. Negotiation is much more complex than “I want this, you want that, let’s compromise”. One can argue that in a compromise solution, everyone is losing something.

In “Getting to Yes”, a classic book on Negotiation by Fisher, et al., we see alternatives to the pure “compromise solution”.

The key to getting a solution that doesn’t involve a losing compromise is to understand the interests, rather than the positions of the parties involved. Let’s look at an example:

Positions –

Marc’s Wife: I want to go to the mall.

Marc: I hate the mall. I don’t want to go.

Interests –

Marc’s wife’s wants to pick up a purse that she knows is 50% off.

Marc doesn’t hate the mall, he just doesn’t want to spend 3 hours as a baggage handler and baby sitter.

You can see that negotiate a solution to this problem is much more achievable when we look at the interests over the positions.

Unfortunately, Marc’s wife doesn’t negotiate, so Marc usually goes to the mall. 🙂

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