The 5 people you need for CLM project success 

Discover the essential roles crucial for Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) success. From the visionary Dreamer to the problem-solving Detective, these roles drive CLM excellence.

Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) is a critical aspect of any organization’s operations yet introducing it to a new team often poses a challenge. While technology and processes play a significant role in achieving CLM project success, it is the people who drive the success (and adoption) of the system.  

Highly engaged employees bring energy and effectiveness to their work, resulting in better performance and lower turnover rates. In fact, studies have shown that engaged employees perform 20% better and are 87% less likely to leave their company. That’s why fostering a culture of engagement within your CLM project is essential for long-term success.   

Discover the five essential roles that contribute to CLM success, as discussed in a recent presentation by Lauryn Haake, president of Qualitas Consulting Group, at the 2023 Agiloft Summit. By recognizing and honoring the contributions of individuals who have mastered their roles, organizations can achieve what Haake calls “CLM mastery.” This includes end-user joy, compliance, operational efficiency, and certainty that contracts are fulfilling their intended purpose.   

1. The Dreamer

The Dreamer is the visionary who identifies the need for CLM and envisions its potential impact on the organization.  

“This is the person who says, ‘What if?’ What if we tried to do something different? What if we tried self-service contracting? Why can’t we do better with our template harmonization?’” Haake said.  

The Dreamer is responsible for setting the strategic direction and goals for CLM implementation. The Dreamer’s role is to inspire and motivate the team, ensuring everyone understands the vision and works towards achieving it. 

2. The Cheerleader

The Cheerleader is the advocate and supporter of CLM within the organization. They promote the benefits of CLM to stakeholders, encourage adoption, and create excitement around the initiative with their positivity. 

“By being positive, it means that people know they can count on you to be ready for whatever’s going to come into your journey on your mastery,” Haake said. “This person is solution-oriented. They’re like, ‘Okay, I understand there’s a challenge. How do we solution for that?’” 

The Cheerleader plays a crucial role in building enthusiasm and buy-in from employees, ensuring a smooth transition and acceptance of the CLM system.  

3. The Scientist

The Scientist is a bit like an architect, but with a twist. Their job? To theorize how to meet requirements. They’re the one who says, “What if we tried this?” or “What if we put these pieces together?” It’s like solving a puzzle. 

Imagine having a bunch of requirements—like ingredients for a recipe. The Scientist’s task? Figure out how they all fit together.  
Here’s the best part of being the Scientist: You take the Dreamer’s grand vision and make it real. From hypothesis to fact, you’re the bridge between dreams and execution. 

4. The Detective

The Detective is the problem-solver and investigator. They have a keen eye for detail and are responsible for identifying gaps, inefficiencies, and areas for improvement in the CLM process, she said.  

“This is the person that serves as the controller of your data, the one that sees those patterns develop and presents the information for somebody to actually react to,” Haake said.  

The Detective plays a crucial role in identifying bottlenecks, streamlining workflows, and ensuring the CLM system aligns with the organization’s needs.  

In essence, this person presents opportunities by deciphering the language of patterns. They bridge the gap between what people do and what the system’s data reveals. So, if you ever need to decode the mysteries within your data, turn to the Detective—they’re your guide to informed decisions. 

But it’s not just about what’s present; the Detective also pays attention to what’s missing. The absence of data can be as telling as its presence. 

For instance, they might say, “We’ve noticed an entire business unit bypassing the CLM system,” or, “Word plugin usage is surprisingly low.” 

5. The Dealer

The Dealer is often a sponsor within your organization. Dealers possess a unique skill set, understanding the intricate art of negotiation and the give-and-take dynamics inherent in change management.  
The Dealer’s primary mission? To make deals happen. They navigate complexities, broker agreements, and ensure progress toward CLM mastery, Haake said. Whether it’s contract terms, process adjustments, or resource allocation, the Dealer orchestrates the necessary compromises. 

Each team member—whether the Dreamer, Scientist, Detective, or Cheerleader—relies on the Dealer’s understanding of their unique needs. It’s about finding the right balance. 

Combining roles and filling gaps

While these five roles are ideal for larger organizations, individuals in smaller organizations may need to take on multiple roles.  

“Different people take the point position at different times in your journey. You can’t get started without the Dreamer, but you can’t finish without the Scientist. Can you imagine doing a five-year CLM technology plan without a Dreamer? Can you imagine doing a implementation without your Scientist? No, you can’t. And so each person’s going to ebb and flow in their responsibility for the journey, and that’s okay,” Haake said. 

It is essential to define and communicate each person’s accountability measures separately. Organizations should identify missing roles and determine how to fill those gaps, either by developing existing employees or bringing in external expertise.  

Empowerment and communication

Empowering individuals to fulfill their roles is crucial for CLM mastery, Haake said. Clarifying roles and responsibilities, discussing strengths, and asking employees what they need for success fosters engagement and productivity.  

Organizations should craft and execute a communications plan to inform employees about the CLM team’s roles and responsibilities, creating excitement and recognition for their contributions.  

Measuring CLM project success

Measuring the effectiveness of the CLM team is essential for continuous improvement. Organizations should establish metrics and goals aligned with the roles and responsibilities of each team member. Regular performance evaluations, 360 reviews, and feedback sessions help identify areas for growth and development.  


CLM success is achieved when there is a balance between operational efficiency, contractual risk compliance, and end-user satisfaction. The five roles discussed – the Dreamer, Cheerleader, Scientist, Detective, and Implementer – are crucial for driving CLM project success.  

“Technology is great, but it requires a certain intention on how you implement it so that they align to the processes,” Haake said. “So, no technology is perfectly suited to every process need that you have. There’s still going to be some human element because last time I checked, humans still run the machines.” 

By recognizing the importance of these roles, empowering individuals, and measuring their contributions, organizations can achieve CLM mastery and reap the benefits of streamlined contract management processes. 

Learn more about the path to success from others who have been there before. Check out the Gartner report, “Peer Lessons Learned for Contract Life Cycle Management Software Implementation,” to read clients’ firsthand experiences implementing CLM. 

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