The objective of the Control phase is to sustain the gains achieved by process improvement. In this phase, the team develops documentation, training, ongoing protocols, and
mechanisms to ensure that new procedures are being followed and measured to warrant optimal performance of the process.
Mistake-proof the solution
One of the main aspects of the Control phase is mistake-proofing, or Poka-Yoke, a
Japanese phrase literally translated as “to avoid errors.”
To be effective, mistake-proofing the future-state process means instituting control
mechanisms for preventable lapses in process adherence. In other words, if the new
process is not followed, the lapse should be detected 100 percent of the time, and the
incorrect deliverable will not be passed along to the client.
Several human factors stand in the way of process excellence. Understanding and
accounting for these human factors is a critical key to effective change management and
implementation of improved processes.
• Factors requiring enablement and talent management: misunderstanding,
misidentification, gaps in training and necessary skills, lack of documented
standards or guidance, willful disregard of established rules
• Factors requiring control mechanisms for immediate detection and resolution:
forgetfulness, distractions, malfunctions in necessary technology or tools
For legal teams undertaking process improvement, control mechanisms can benefit
greatly from right-sized selection and deployment of technology, e.g. matter
management or portfolio tracking systems. Many solutions are available that can
operationalize pre-defined “best practice” workflows, facilitate hand-offs and eliminate
waiting time through automated tracking and notifications.
Sustain process improvements
through the Control Plan
The project team should develop a control plan that encompasses all activities and
documentation necessary to sustain process improvements. The plan must contain
provisions to monitor performance and thus verify that project improvements are
maintained. This in turn allows for a successful long-term “hand-off” of a completed
process improvement project to a willing and prepared “process owner” to carry it
forward. At their best, control plans should: