Higher power negotiations

Always have a “higher authority” that you have to “check with” before you can make a decision. This ensures both that you will have more time to think about the deal, and that you will be able to put more pressure on the other party without leading to confrontation (as you do not appear to be the one responsible for the pressure).”

Looking back on an early project, I think my team’s managers may have been played by the “higher authority” negotiation technique.

Let me set the scene. There were two major business unit stakeholders within the customer’s organisation. One was the OSS team, which didn’t have a lot of network experience. The other was the network operations team that had existing experience and toolsets (NMS / EMS).

On the vendor side, my managers were always of the belief that the network operations team were always on the verge of convincing the customer’s Chairman to kill off the OSS we were building. This belief largely came from carefully dropped hints from various levels within the customer’s organisation.

There were a number of uncontracted features the customer convinced our team to implement simply on the basis of “if you don’t implement <insert feature here> then you will be seen as less sophisticated than the features of the tools used by the network operations team.” The features in question tended to be either complex automations or duplication of features that should’ve only been implemented at NMS level.

Whether intentional or not, invoking “the higher power” of the Chairman threat was a master-stroke by the customer.

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