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In addition to contract templates, standards, fall-back language – an approval matrix

One unheralded piece of the contract suite, by which I mean the array of software and processes that let a company get its contracts executed, is the approval matrix. It guides lawyers and clients regarding the level of manager who must sign off on a non-standard change to a contract. To accept unlimited liability may require the CFO’s signature; to accelerate delivery by more than three weeks may need SVP approval. I do not think all that many companies have an approval matrix, but it makes good sense.

The other parts of the suite include templates, standards that the company insists must be covered, a guide for contract negotiators, and language to propose if the other side requests certain changes.

Most of my posts in this domain concern form contracts (See my post of Dec. 9, 2005 #2: consultants who prepare templates; Jan. 15, 2006: GE used Six Sigma to shorten form contracts; Feb. 12, 2006: law firm puts templates on extranet; Dec. 10, 2007: an application of knowledge management; Dec. 17, 2007: style guides for contract templates; Nov. 22, 2008: contract negotiation guides compared to templates; Dec. 9, 2008: templates in Exari document assembly; Dec. 21, 2009: “governance documents” include templates; Jan. 7, 2010: 100 templates at Catholic Healthcare West; April 19, 2010: software to create templates; and Aug. 17, 2010: Microsoft converges its contract templates.).