What is a workflow?
The very first step when initiating legal digitisation initiatives is to start thinking of your legal and compliance work as processes.
The next logical step is to review and map your processes, and to analyse whether your processes need improvement. This is where the concept of workflow steps in. “Workflow” is defined by the Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC) as “an automation of a business process, in whole or part, during which documents, information or tasks are passed from one participant to another for action, according to a set of procedural rules.” (“Next Stage Legal Project Management: Future-proof Your Matter Management”, Global Law and Business 2021)
In short, process is a sequence of activities, and workflow is a way to improve efficiency of this sequence. When we talk about process digitisation, we are referring to rethinking and organising your processes in standardised workflows with clearly defined steps, objectives, stakeholders, as well as associated analytics and KPIs.
How do you adopt a workflow mindset?
The good news is that you likely already have it. We all work in processes, even though we are often not aware of it and even though our processes might be unstructured. Workflow mindset is about transforming those “unconscious” processes into more formal workflows, while always thinking about the best ways to improve their efficiency and overall effectiveness.
Workflow mindset is also about noticing interconnections between different, at first sight unrelated processes within your law firm or legal department. It is also about being attentive to the stakeholders performing different activities, and about listening to what they think the improvement opportunities could be.
How do you create a legal workflow?
Good news again: we’ve got you covered. Using our own approach to process visualisation and workflow streamlining, we have developed a free toolkit Legal Workflow Canvas that can be used under a Creative Commons (CC) license.
Legal Workflow Canvas is a template that helps you plan your workflow (by reviewing your objectives and stakeholders), analyse and build it (by defining process phases and possible limitations), as well as measure and learn from it (by analysing problems, opportunities and KPIs).
We are committed to sharing our know how within the legal industry and hope that our free toolkit available for download here will be a great start for you and your organisation adopt workflow mindset and future proof your practice.