Many years ago I attended a seminar/work session on Negotiating. The objective of negotiation was defined as “…a process of discovery that moves toward an agreement that satisfies both parties.” I think this definition holds true on commercial negotiations for sure. In government negotiations, this holds true but there are many more guidelines that govern the process that both sides need to understand to produce a result that will satisfy both parties. The government objective might be “…a process of discovery that moves toward an agreement that will satisfy the Government and it’s requirements and provide a result for the contractor.” To understand this, if the contractor doesn’t understand the rules and guidelines (specifically the Federal Acquisition Regulations or FAR) then they may not be satisfied in having to produce cost and pricing data as part of the negotiations, especially if they were not prepared to do this from the proposal stage on.
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