Managing Vendors in Public Sector Projects

The goals of this workshop are to:

  • Describe the new organizational environment for public agencies

  • Identify the challenges of managing for outcomes and managing distant employees and vendors

  • Describe the tools and methods for specifying the necessary outcomes and creating the legal framework for managing in the new environment including effective contracts and service level agreements

  • Identify best practices in outsourcing and managing distant employees and vendors

  • Apply relevant tools from project management that can help manage the transitions involved

  • Engage the participant in exercises designed to improve their ability to apply these concepts and skills

  • Improve the capacity of public-sector managers to create good outcomes and results in the new workplace

  • Allow participants to apply the skills and concepts to case studies and their own workplace

  • Improve the ability of managers to create workable, long-term relationships with vendors and distant employees

Course Outline

Day 1:

Module 1: Introduction to the workshop

  • In this module, we will detail the course objectives and schedule and identify participant interests and concerns

Module 2: The changing public-sector workplace and changing face of management

  • In this module, we'll examine how the public sector has changed and why the management of vendors and outsourced services is so critical to project management and the management of public organizations overall. We'll look at the new demands on managers and the management tools required in this environment.

Module 3: The challenges of outcome management, identifying and defining clear outcomes, performance management, managing the cultural changes necessary for successful outsourcing; the myths of outsourcing

  • In this module, we'll describe the major challenges of managing outsourced services and vendors, challenges that require a change in our management toolkit and mindset. We'll describe outcome management and its difficulties and the changes that an organization needs to make to be successful in an outsourced environment. Last, we'll examine the myths of outsourcing, myths that, if adhered to, will cause outsourcing and vendor management to fail.

Module 4: Using project management to create effective transitions

  • In this module, we'll examine the tools and methods of project management that can help us make the transition to outsourced services. We'll focus on defining the project and its desired outcomes and managing project risks. We'll give attention to the transfer of services to the vendor and from our current arrangements.

Day 2:

Module 5: The legal framework for managing outsourcing and outcomes

  • In this module, we'll describe the legal framework and documents that govern the outsourced arrangement. We'll identify key legal requirements and best practices in creating a workable arrangement given the constraints of the public sector.

Module 6: Service level agreements and statements of work

  • In this module, we'll examine the creation of the document at the heart of the outsourced services relationship-the service level agreement. We'll discuss and apply concepts that allow for the creation of good SLAs and SOWs and describe the necessary components of that important agreement.

Module 7: Managing changes and expectations, resolving conflict and creating win-win relationships

  • In this module, we'll further examine the outsourced services as a means of building a relationship that benefits the buyer and the seller. We'll describe methods for making the relationship adaptable and managing the expectations of managers and recipients of the services. We'll describe and practice a conflict management method that can help us craft good, workable relationships and optimize outcomes in the face of the conflict that will accompany any outsourced relationship.

Module 8: Workshop wrap-up

  • In this module, we'll wrap-up the workshop, make concluding comments, address remaining questions, and evaluate the workshop


Though all public-sector project managers can benefit from this workshop, it is best suited for experienced project managers who are coping with outsourced services and the challenges of managing vendors.


To ensure your success, we recommend you have significant working knowledge or experience in working in a project environment and some experience working with vendors.