These services utilize the Think180 Competency Model and process. It is based on our extended work with a range of clients who outsource, many years of experience in performance and management development, and direct experience managing national partner programs and reseller training.


Provide a process and method for assessing the skills and expertise that are priorities to develop for different roles in managing vendor relationships and delivery.


Not all projects are the same, not all companies are the same, and not all vendor relationships are the same. There is not one universal skill-set to be an effective vendor manager. Many factors determine what competencies (or capabilities) are needed.


  • Identifying competency sets from model and list, with development options
  • Strategic reviews of capabilities required and weighting of priorities
  • Tailored training workshops on vendor management to build individual competencies
  • Facilitated events to develop collective team capabilities
  • Webinars and videoconferences on selected competency areas

Benefits of strong capabilities

  1. Better control of projects and programs - time, cost, quality
  2. Earlier identification of problems and emerging risks
  3. Greater ability to contain and solve problems quickly
  4. Improved vendor relationships helps smoother delivery
  5. Identifying opportunities for cost savings
  6. Stronger ability to see and implement operational improvements
  7. Insight into vendor operations for greater efficiencies
  8. Stronger base when negotiations are required
  9. Less time wasted in getting across what is going on
  10. More effective and efficient review of deliverables and/or service levels

Risks of competency shortfalls

  1. Missing warning signs of problems looming
  2. Giving away advantages to vendor
  3. Allowing vendor to control things that client should control
  4. Reduced ability to assess vendor delivery
  5. Time wasted doing things clumsily
  6. Spending (or allowing) unnecessarily
  7. Potential costs by allowing quality to slip
  8. Slippage in timelines and deliverables
  9. Time and goodwill lost through conflict or combative relationship
  10. Frustration by internal stakeholders and governance team


This is a business decision, based on budget, location of managers, existing learning infrastructure and program, timeline for launching or deploying outsourcing solution, availability of staff to undergo learning, and downside/risk of operating with sub-optimal competencies.

Think180 brings a depth of consulting experience in outsourcing, performance and management development, and applies this through our Competency Model and process. This helps clients define which are the most critical areas to develop for a particular project, to get the best value for training budget and employee time spent.


Typically assessment is part of planning the training delivery. We work primarily in two ways:

  1. Directly with the department manager whose team manages outsourcing, to assess what training and focus is needed for that team and individuals.
  2. In collaboration with HR, Sourcing, Talent Management, or outsourcing governance teams in determining broader training and development requirements for managers across multiple outsourced projects.

Key factors in prioritizing

These are ten typical factors more influential in determining what competencies are needed, in what priority, and to what depth. Think180 has identified a further twenty key factors that are part of the assessment and planning.

  1. Lifecycle responsibility - whole process or one phase (mostly delivery)
  2. Relationship with vendor - transactional or partnering (collaborative)
  3. Project or program - deliverables and milestones, or service levels and quality
  4. Extent of integration into client business
  5. Balance of expertise - client or vendor side
  6. New or ongoing project/program - kick-off vs. maintain (or fix)
  7. Project complexity, size, budget, depth
  8. Location of vendor
  9. Governance requirements, structure and process
  10. Level of responsibility, discretion and accountability of vendor manager

Development options

  1. Professional education/course (such as project management, finance)
  2. Required study program, driven by employee development
  3. Coaching by manager or experienced vendor manager
  4. Internal Training and Development courses
  5. External courses
  6. Online and media-based learning (podcasts, e-learning, videos, audio)
  7. In-house workshop on managing vendors
  8. Webinars and videoconferencing
  9. Supervised on-job experience and feedback
  10. Tradeshows and industry outsourcing events

Key competency areas (typical broad categories shown)

  1. Business and financials
  2. Governance - contracts, risk, metrics
  3. Management skills applied to outsourcing
  4. Communications - explanation, meetings, negotiation
  5. Relationship management
  6. Project management
  7. Program management
  8. Problem-solving
  9. Operations
  10. Subject matter expertise
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