Assess your contracts against criteria that impact their functionality, usability, and ease of use.
You want to design contracts that are useful and usable for business; make contracts more accessible and understandable; save time during contract preparation, revision and negotiations; and reduce the likelihood of costly mistakes and disputes.
Contracts need to work not just as legal tools but also as management tools. You will want the parties to have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities; negotiate based on positive, well designed and transparent terms; reduce ambiguity; and enhance communication. Well-designed contracts assessed against these criteria can transform the image of contracts within your organization, ensure that the workforce is more engaged in reading contracts; speed up the implementation process; and help you achieve better results at a fraction of the time and effort usually required. By assessing your contracts against these criteria you will pay attention to 1) content and 2) how it is presented. These criteria will help you to respond to the need of contracts to be designed, not just drafted.
You can apply to your contracts the following criteria presented in “What makes a good document” developed by the Simplification Centre:
- Language criteria: How easy it is for people to understand the words
- Design criteria: The visual impact of the document and the way its design influences usability
- Relationship criteria: How far the document establishes a relationship with its users
- Content criteria: How the content and the way it is organized deliver the document’s purpose
You may want to add balance criteria, addressing whether the terms of your contract generate a sense of collaboration and trust. This, along with the four criteria above, is part of the IACCM Contract Design Assessment Program.