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Policy Lifecycle Management Process

You might know bits and pieces of your organization’s policy and procedure workflow, or maybe you’re well-versed in the whole policy lifecycle (or life cycle) process. However, if you’re envisioning binder-based policies or documents stored in folders on a shared drive, you’re thinking of the old way.

Look closely at the info graphic below. You will notice that nowhere does it mention “renaming the file” or “storing the old files in a folder.” That’s because the new process focuses on reusing content versus creating new documents. Using software with versioning and archiving capabilities, you can start managing policies the newway and dramatically increase both efficiency and productivity.

The New Policy Lifecycle Management Process

How the new policy lifecycle management process works

If you’re using PolicyStat software, any imported or newly created policies will be stored in the system as web-based content versus standalone documents. This allows the software’s powerful search engine to look at every word (like in a Google search) without the need for manual keyword tagging. There are other advantages to storing documents like this, but that’s for another blog post. Each “active policy” must be reviewed or revised upon expiration. Instead of creating a new version, the current version is simply “pended for approval” and becomes a draft, sending it through a pre-defined approval workflow. In draft mode, approvers can make edits right inside the editor without downloading documents to their desktop. They can easily collaborate by posting comments that stay with the policy – this allows everyone involved to view the comment thread, eliminating the need to send out mass emails which may not contain the correct recipients and may not be the correct version of the policy.

Work smarter, not harder.

In the old process, a policy expiration was handled by creating a new document and emailing out the draft version to approvers. The old document might go into a folder labeled “Old” on the shared drive and remain there for reference.

The Old Life of a Policy
The old process is not a cycle.

With the new software-based process, however, any changes to the draft are automatically recorded on the current version; therefore, there is no need to add another document to your library because you can see any and all historical changes. When a policy finally reaches the end of its lifecycle – when it becomes truly obsolete and can no longer be edited (like a Typewriter Usage Policy) – it is retired.

As you have learned, the new policy lifecycle process is one of transformation – reusing, reducing and recycling content and making your process more efficient. If you found this information useful, feel free to link to this page. You may also use or modify the graphic and post it on your site, as long as you link back to us.

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