The Basics: Scoping

Chris Tkach | November 22, 2019

In my last blog post called ‘The Basics: Pitching, I wrote about my top five tips for pitching tech-enabled services for contract review projects. In this post, I’ll be taking it a step further and sharing more about the process for scoping contract review projects and how to create attractive project bids. 

So let’s pick up where we left off last time. Your team just nailed their pitch for an awesome contract review project, and just like eDiscovery, you’re now asked to submit a project bid. However, unlike eDiscovery, scoping a contract review project is much more complex (and also more easily derailed by inaccurate scoping). Understanding a project’s nuances, such as document types, foreign languages involved, interpretation preferences, fields required, etc., is critical to creating an accurate and competitive bid. I would know, as I’ve spent the last decade working in the contract review industry, and I’ve certainly got the scars to prove it.

In the past few years, we, as an industry, have seen an exponential leap forward with the technology available to us. In fact, when I saw a demo of Heretik in March 2018, it wasn’t long until I joined the team as the Head of Customer Success. In this post, I’m going to give you my top five tips for scoping contract review projects and how using technology makes this process (and your life) so much easier.

1. Question everything.

Create an outline of all the possible questions you need to have answers to from both your client and project manager. Some example client questions are things like:

  • How many contractual relationships will we be reviewing?
  • How many ancillary documents per contractual family?
  • What is the ratio of client vs counter party paper?
  • Will collection process be ongoing or all at once?
  • Are there priority documents or fields?
  • What is the approval process for budget?
  • Who are the points of contact for substantive questions vs budget/timeline questions?

Some example questions to ask the project management team are things like:

  • Does the PM team have any historical records or lessons learned from similar project types?
  • How many reviewers on our bench with necessary skill sets for this project?
  • How long would it take to review a contractual family?
  • How much time should be allotted to quality control and what is the quality control plan?

Understanding the answers to as many of these questions as possible will help you create a more accurate bid and set expectations with your client and team.

2. You can never have enough sample documents.

Get your hands on as many sample documents as you can. This will allow your team to run some review tests with your technology and better calculate resources, timelines, etc. This also allows you to work with your client to clearly define objectives, expectations, and deliverables with their documents.

3. Let your technology do the heavy lifting.

At Heretik, we encourage our clients to run their sample documents through our Heretik Analysis, which includes contract classification, segmentation, and field extraction, as soon as possible. This allows them to have an understanding of critical and accurate project information in a matter of hours for better scoping and negotiating. Our Heretik Forge feature also allows our clients to re-purpose their custom machine-learning analysis models that can be industry, project, or client specific (while also creating a unqiue competitive advantage). If it’s not your first LIBOR rodeo, why start from scratch?

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4. Transparency is key.

To make your client feel comfortable trusting your team with their project, it’s critical to establish consistent and honest communication from the beginning. Identify key stakeholders and their roles at the onset.  Also, be sure to establish a check-in cadence and reporting plan (progress status, budget updates, and escalations). 

5. Have an apocalypse plan.

As I mentioned earlier, contract review projects can be derailed easily for a multitude of reasons. Know your risks, and the probability of each occurring. Then you will be able to mitigate the occurrence of any of these risks.  Seasoned project managers create backup plans for every scenario and that’s what saves margins, relationships, and jobs.

At Heretik, we pride ourselves on our customer success and support. We’re always creating new resources that are available at any time to our users. Make sure to check out our our partner asset library for more scoping resources, in addition to other sales enablement materials, content templates, marketing-friendly product screenshots, gifs. We also have a help desk and documentation portal for in-depth feature overviews or help with troubleshooting Heretik that can be especially useful while mapping out your technology project plan.



Chris is the Director of Customer Success at Heretik. Prior to Heretik, he worked briefly as an attorney, and went on to lead large-scale M&A projects and develop contract review technology at companies like Axiom and Major Lindsey & Africa.