Taking Action Steps in Contract Management
“If you know anything about magic, you know that the best tricks are the ones that are the most simple to perform. Levitation relies on pulleys, floating dollars need thread, and the disappearing coin depends on hidden pockets; all of the most remarkable tricks have the most “obvious” explanations. Similarly, the best methods for managing projects are simple and intuitive. They help you capture ideas and do something with themno more, no less. This simple efficiency keeps you engaged and on task with as little effort as possible.”
This is Scott Belsky, Adobe’s Vice President of Community and Co-Founder & Head of Behance, explaining the Action Method to project management. The action method is an intuitive approach to task management, which seeks to simplify work. While there are various different approaches to project management, this method stands because of its emphasis on action, particularly action steps. This project management methodology is applicable to contract management.
Importance of Action Steps
“Action Steps are the most important components of projects, the oxygen for keeping projects alive,” writes Belsky, no Action Steps, no action, no results. Contract management for any size of company generates a mountain of documents. Ranging from handwritten notes to formal contracts and everything in between, running a paper-based contract management system is costly and labor intensive. Moreover, all those papers by themselves are not action steps, they need to be processed properly to create action steps: discuss rebates, prepare for an upcoming renewal deadline, or reevaluate a fee and pricing structure.
Your company’s success depends in large part on its ability to properly create, maintain and manage action steps. By automating the contract management process with a project management approach, then your staff is capable of focusing on more value creation activities.
Determining Action Steps
Action steps are everywhere, but it is hard to keep track of all of them. Automated alerts and alarms allow for analysis to identify areas for improvement in contract execution. This capability to constantly monitor and analyze contract performance is one of the many compelling ROI justifications for enterprise contract management software. By setting email alerts for any of your contract milestone dates or configure alarms using default or customized settings (e.g. days in advance, recurrence, etc.), staff can capture action steps much easily and prioritize accordingly.
Likewise, contract management training becomes more focused because staff can have a set more clear expectation of what is needed from them. In a proper contract management system, every contract becomes a training opportunity as the system keeps tracks of the history of alarms sent. This history can be used as powerful pool of “what if” scenarios. You can train your staff how to react to specific email alerts and what action steps are expected.
The actual outcome of any idea is dependent on the actions steps that are captured and then completed by you or delegated to someone else. Action Steps are to be revered and treated as sacred in any project. Automatic alerts and alarms create more clear and concrete action steps within your contract management processes. By making action steps less vague or complicated, your staff will have less friction when trying to do them.