Working with non-company stakeholders such as vendors can be a challenge. You have a couple of ways that you can go about establishing solid communicative relationships with vendors. First, you can consider putting up a virtual private network (VPN) connection for them. With a VPN nailed up, you can simply give the vendor partners that are stakeholders in the project a valid logon name and password, and they can reach across their network to yours to download and read important project information. Also, you can use e-mail tracking strategies, where you routinely send out e-zines that keep people apprised of project status. Surely you ' ve seen an e-zine before; they are simply e-mails made up of headlines with the high points and text that gives the details. You could routinely formulate and e-mail e-zines to those stakeholders who aren ' t able to attend regular stakeholder meetings.
Another more exotic methodology would be to use remote collaboration techniques to bring stakeholders to you for your regular meetings. Conference calling is appropriate and is quick, easy, and inexpensive to set up. You could implement virtual collaboration software, such as Microsoft NetMeeting or CUSeeMe (www.cuseeme.com), to set up a camera and microphone and even share a virtual whiteboard and standard office automation products such as word processors and spreadsheets.
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