"Terrific course. I was never bored . . . activities were interesting and engaging.
I liked the stories (that were) told to apply the concepts.

Workshop - Managing External Resources (MER)

MER helps professionals and specialists make the transition from a hands-on role, to managing the work being done by vendors. The emphasis is on ensuring that vendors are able to deliver the best results within the terms of agreement. This means knowing how to manage the vendor relationship and the delivery process.


Provide essential skills, tools and concepts for professionals, technical specialists and project/program leaders to manage the work of vendors.


Designed to assist professionals, technical specialists, project leaders and line managers to increase their effectiveness in managing vendors. The workshop provides essential techniques, tools and concepts to manage the work of these external resources. Activities before the training, and follow-up processes, increase relevance and impact by linking the learning back to the workplace.


The needs and issues of the client are researched through interviews and surveys. Pre-course instructions and reading are sent to participants, or available online. A workshop from one to two days combines practical exercises with experienced instruction in the context, techniques and requirements of selecting, engaging and managing external resources in a partnering style. Real examples from the participants' work are used as exercises to apply back on the job.

Check out the expanded details on Think180 Training Methods.


Content and balance of attention for each workshop will depend on the needs and roles of the team or participants.

  • Strategies for different forms of outsourcing
  • Transitioning from professional job role to vendor/partner manager
  • Differences between managing vendors and employees
  • Understanding how to engage and use professional services
  • Contracts and agreements; copyright and intellectual property
  • Capturing and retaining project knowledge so it is not lost
  • Defining the job scope, deliverables, service levels and standards
  • Using the RFP process to define the work and select vendors
  • Negotiating terms and conditions, briefing vendor, kicking off
  • Defining and evaluating results – metrics, milestones, outcomes
  • How partnering can dramatically increase effectiveness
  • What is required to communicate effectively with vendors
  • Managing changes to work, project direction, or expected deliverables
  • Assessing project results and managing vendor performance

To open a PDF, click MER Table of Contents.


Think180 has developed extensive material on this subject. This is formatted in a training binder that is adapted and augmented to meet each client's particular needs. Each participant receives:

  • Binder/workbook with comprehensive handout notes on topics covered
  • Templates for the RFP and selection processes
  • Tipsheets on areas most relevant to particular client needs
  • Selected book that best suits needs of company and participants

Average rating for Think180 MER materials is 4.4 on a scale of 5.
Overall, 50% of MER participants rated a full 5 out of 5.


Participants in the workshop are able to benefit through:

  • Immediate work application with live project coaching at workshop
  • Knowledge of how to avoid costly mistakes
  • Tools for better vendor selection
  • Improved skills of managing vendors against results and specific standards
  • Specific guidance in creating effective partnering relationships


Experience indicates that overall program effectiveness increases when we:


Client receives a summary report of the workshop content and learning gains. As an option, 6-8 weeks after the course, client may request an impact and value summary. Participants report how they have implemented learning in their work.

Go to MER Evaluations for more details and summary of evaluations by participants.


Go to Feedback to see what clients and participants have said about this workshop.

PDF Version

Click on the PDF Library to access a PDF copy of this workshop's description.

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