Hi. Now that you've added tasks, time estimates, and confidence ratings to your project plan, let's prepare for upcoming negotiations concerning time estimates. Peta has to negotiate with team members about some of the tasks that have low confidence level ratings or that are estimated to take longer than she'd hoped. You'll help by analyzing the supporting materials, recording notes, and identifying some effective negotiation techniques. Earlier, you applied some negotiation skills to discussions about the project scope. Negotiation skills can also help you get accurate time and effort estimates, but the skills you use and the approach you take will be a little different. In this case, you're negotiating with a task expert, not a stakeholder. Your goal is to try to determine an accurate time and effort estimate for a task, instead of persuading them to agree with a certain outcome. You're trying to arrive at an objectively accurate estimate together. On any project, you'll have to work with people who have a tendency to over or underestimate time, costs, or resources. People don't do this intentionally. Usually, they're just being optimistic or trying to please you by providing what they think you want to hear, rather than what's realistic. Or sometimes they might be overly cautious and give you an extreme estimate in case something doesn't go according to plan. In some situations, using negotiation skills to get accurate time estimates might be critical to the success of the project. There are lots of different negotiation techniques out there, but let's focus on a few that are specific to negotiating a time estimate. They are: say no without saying no; focus on interests, not positions; present mutually beneficial options; and insist on objective criteria. If a task expert gives you a time estimate that's different from what you hoped for, there are a few techniques you can use to try and reach an estimate that works for both of you. Let's start with the first technique: saying no without saying no. The idea behind this technique is to get the other person to start working out an alternative solution with you. Here's how. First, think about the ways we usually tell someone no: "That won't work." "That's not going to happen." "I can't do that." Or, "There's no way." Statements like these can make the person you're communicating with feel defensive and shut down the conversation. Instead, ask open-ended questions like: How would you like me to proceed? How can we solve this problem? And, what can I do to help? Questions like these invite the other person to collaborate with you. This keeps the conversation focused on reaching a resolution that works for both of you. Let's explore the next technique. Focus on interests, not positions. Here, the goal is not to win. Instead, try to identify the other person's interests, their basic needs, wants, and motivations around completing a certain task. You might be working with a task expert who cares deeply about completing the task with a high degree of quality, but you're concerned that if you don't meet the deadline, the quality of the work won't matter. You can ask if there are any areas of quality they'd be willing to compromise on that would shorten the schedule estimate but still allow them to complete the task to an acceptable degree. A third technique is to present mutually beneficial options. We covered this a little already, but here's how you can apply this concept when negotiating time estimates. Imagine both you and your task expert want to complete the task as quickly as possible, but the expert's time estimate is still longer than you'd like. Asking some open-ended questions, like the ones listed earlier, can help you figure out if there's a solution that will satisfy both of your goals. Maybe there's information the expert is missing or a resource that you could commit to finding and supplying to make the estimate lower. The last technique is to insist on using objective criteria to define a time estimate. Objective criteria is based on neutral information like market value, research findings, previously-documented experience, or laws and regulations. When you use objective criteria, you're basing the agreement on known, or shared, principles. The key is to agree in advance about which objective criteria to consult, and then to use the information to determine your estimates. You might have an expert who insists on following their instincts when coming up with time estimates. If you ask them in advance to provide clear, objective data that supports their instincts, you can get them to arrive at a more accurate estimate. Okay, let's review what we've covered. There are many scenarios where negotiation skills for a time estimate might be critical to the success of the project. A few techniques that are specific to negotiating a time estimate are: say no without saying no; focus on interests, not positions; present mutually beneficial options; and insist on objective criteria. Great. Now you have a few new negotiation techniques for your project management toolbox. In the next activity, you will apply what you've learned to time estimate negotiations for the tablet rollout project.