Every product’s lifecycle is as effective as it’s bottlenecks. After all, they determine the speed at which we turn out a ready product or service. And while self-service contracts can work for NDAs, DPAs or other simple documents, some more complex contract types need to be approved in order to be signed. For many lawyers, approval flows cause the biggest delays in their workflows and create enormous amounts of potential actions just waiting to be released by the magical combination of words:
‘Approved by all’
These are the sacred words that let you release the breaks and finish it off with a couple of signatures. But sometimes gathering the approval of every responsible person on every clause or contract can take days, even weeks, and an abrupt final approval in a couple of days can ruin a lawyer’s schedule and lead to extra work on top of what has already been planned.
In-house legal departments of today cannot live by yesterday’s standards. With the constant development of technology and its integration into the processes of other departments, legal bottlenecks become more evident not just for lawyers, but for everyone within a company.
In our new ‘Draft the World’ comic we tried to face the importance of the power of approval and see how document automation software can help us deal with plenty of work in a lightning fast way.
The power of approval
While you might think that a set of signatures on the contract is the only thing holding your hands from action, it is important to understand that putting a signature takes a couple of seconds. But it can only be done when every part of the contract is approved by the person responsible for it.
Removing one of the parties from the approval flow may lead to unwanted responsibilities being taken on by the company.
And while some contracts can be approved simultaneously, others require a certain order of people that take turns at the contracts to avoid unnecessary time spent on changes and, in turn, another round of approvals.
Importance of approval
There are always clauses and annexes that require the attention of a certain specialist. Here’s how many people need to get involved into signing a software development services agreement:
- Account manager has to make sure that the total price and the scope of services are as was agreed with the client
- Developer needs to approve the project scope to ensure that the task description is clear and agree with the estimates on required resources to complete the task
- Project manager will check the delivery dates and planned sprints to ensure timely delivery
- The client will then have the final word after checking all the pre-approved clauses of the contract before signing it.
The project manager cannot approve delivery dates without an estimate from the developer. The developer cannot approve the task without estimating the scope of services agreed upon between the account manager and the client. Removing one of the parties from the approval flow may lead to unwanted responsibilities being taken on by the company.
With approval power comes great responsibility
It is the in-house legal department’s job to set up the right approval flows and organize the process in a way that ensures a fast contract lifecycle and minimum legal resources spent on it.
Think of it this way: a proper approval flow minimizes the risk of changes to the contract. Absence of change requests speeds up the contract turnaround. Faster contract turnaround reduces its cost and increases the value of the legal department. This is your legal project management 101.
This is where document automation software comes in handy.
The power of document automation
Approval flows are one of the important features of AXDRAFT document automation software. This function lets you:
- Create and manage approval flows for any contract type
- Automate the approval process with conditional preferences
- Remove the risk of unauthorized changes
- Eliminate long approvals with instant notifications
With a properly set up approval flow, you can:
- Speed up the lifecycle of your contracts
- Improve the speed and quality of your company’s services
- Create a streamlined contract workflow with fewer redlines
- Keep your internal processes organized
And all of this can be done in a piece of software, without the need to run around with 100-page master service agreements in your hands and ask everyone to take a look. You don’t even have to be afraid of a scanned contract copy getting lost in your colleague’s junk mail.
All you need is to give every member of the process the power to do great things with one magic button—’Approve’.
Aside from a passion for drawing, AXDRAFT is passionate about making lawyer’s lives easier while giving you more control over routine processes. We also love combining these two passions, so you can spend some time with a relaxing read, and not distract from the legal theme.
Follow Drafty’s adventures and find out about the challenges he has already tackled in his previous endeavors: Legal Mortal Kombat, Legal Operations Ghosts, The Big Draft Theory, Contract Management Abra-Draft-Cadabra, or The Ultimate Contract Bender