Putting The People And Process Back Into Contract Management


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“We’re going to be a little controversial, because it’s fun to be a little controversial,” started off Lucy Bassli, assistant general counsel of legal operations and contracting at Microsoft, at the 45th session at the 2017 CLOC Institute. “We’re going to leave the technology behind. … There is a people and process issue in how we are able to do our work.”

Contracts are everywhere, and every company has them—Bassli asked the room who didn’t have contracts in their organizations and was met with a laugh. Recently, automation technology has been the main focus of change in contract management, but the purpose of the “Let’s Not Talk About CLM Tools” panel at the CLOC Institute was to show how contract management has become more efficient through the two often forgotten parts of contracting: people and processes.

Margaret Hagan, researcher at Stanford Law School, followed Bassli with her own team’s findings on the best way to create a pilot program, consisting of picking a specific use case or design brief for a pilot round, getting all stakeholders into the same room for a blue sky version of the process, and walking that version back into a reasonable near-term vision.

The second piece of Hagan’s research resonated with Bassli, who said, “we didn’t have our users in the room” when designing the process. If Microsoft were to revisit the contract map in future years, including more stakeholder input would be a crucial component.

She also noted that the team would perhaps pay even more attention to change management, a crucial part of changing the process. In response to an audience question about why her team focused on the present instead of just the future, she said, “We have to know where [users] are coming from in order to relay the new experience.”

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