Critical Keys to Process Improvement Success
• Client-defined value: Articulate a definition of value from the viewpoint of the client.
• Reliance on data: Use quantitative methods in process analysis to measure current
state effectiveness as well as the performance impact of any improvements.
• Structural improvements: Analyse client problems to identify and address root causes.
• Waste elimination: Identify and eliminate systemic sources of waste, such as
extraneous tasks, activities, and roadblocks in communication or knowledge
• Quality through consistency: Establish standardized best practices that can be
operationalized through default workflows.
• Change management through controls: Ensure adoption of the new process by all
relevant teams and stakeholders through active engagement and control
Process improvement methodologies can be trickier to impose on legal
issues than those in other disciplines. This is in part because of the
difficulty in defining the actual problem lawyers are trying to solve —
unless it’s simply the generic problem of delivering legal work that meets
the needs of the client with greater predictability and transparency. As
a result, process improvement teams might need to look at problems
holistically with a sense of flexibility.
[From the AVC Guide to Process Improvment]
Contracting can provide fertile ground for unbundling, process
improvement, and the introduction of technology solutions. Telstra is
Australia’s leading telecommunication and information services company.
Under “Project Everest,” former legal counsel Grant Pritchard led a team that completely
rewrote and renegotiated the sourcing contracts underpinning Telstra’s multibillion-dollar
mobile device business.
For many years, Telstra had endured a patchwork quilt of contracts—many of which were
complex, inconsistent, and out-of-date. The team saw an opportunity to dramatically improve
Telstra’s sourcing arrangements, and acted on it—embarking on an ambitious program of work
to redesign the contract and then roll it out across the supplier base.
The product of this work is a plain-English contract that drives customer advocacy, reflects
Telstra’s business requirements, and provides unprecedented consistency between suppliers.
The team was able to achieve this outcome with external legal spend significantly below
original law firm estimates. They also pursue continuous improvement via an online post-
negotiation survey to capture feedback from each supplier, allowing “course corrections”
to improve the process for subsequent suppliers. The initiative has resulted in significantly
ACC Value Challenge