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Practical Negotiating: Tools, Tactics & Techniques by Tom Gosselin

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The Triangle

Perhaps the best way of visualizing the situation is with a triangle, as shown in Figure 11.2.

Figure 11.2. Specification-Time-Resources Triangle

It is up to you, as the person taking on the task or project, to determine the length of the sides of this triangle. Once you’ve estimated the task, you can apply the Rule of the Triangle, which states that the area must remain proportional. This means that any change to one side means an adjustment to one or both of the other sides.

Let’s assume that your boss assigns you a new project. You estimate it will take you 10 days to complete with two assistants. But your boss insists that it be done in five days. Your boss is cutting the time leg of the triangle in half.

The only way you can meet this deadline and retain the area of the triangle is to adjust one or both of the other legs—resources or specification (see Figure 11.3).

Figure 11.3. Adjusting the Triangle

You have two options: (1) you can add staff, or (2) you can offer partial delivery. You must get your boss to change the specifications. You can learn more by playing with the diagram, remembering that an adjustment to one side requires additional adjustments (see Figures 11.4 through 11.7).

Figure 11.4. Triangle: Original Estimate

Figure 11.5. Triangle: ...

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