Creating an MoU – taking inspiration from Lego

When speaking to family mediators, one of the most time consuming tasks is creating the Memorandum of Understanding. Tailoring the document to the circumstances of the separating parties, despite the fact that you’ve already created 100’s of MoU’s before, can be very time consuming.

It’s been an area that has intrigued me for years – how can technology be applied to simplify the process yet still produce a document with the personal feel, that addresses the specific requirements of 99% of cases.

Taking inspiration from Lego

lego-set_smEarlier this year, whilst building a Minecraft Lego kit, the similarity between complex documents (like the MoU) and Lego kits began to dawn.

Lego sets typically provide an instruction sheet that details how to construct a specific model through a series of stages. In the case of Minecraft, you’re given instructions for building lots of small modules, which assemble into the final design. Once complete, you have the choice to adapt it by removing bricks or adding to from other kits.

Taking the analogy from Lego, constructing an MoU requires lots of paragraphs (smaller Minecraft modules) often with only minor differences between cases. These paragraphs are then assembled to form the document, which might have final alterations before printing or emailing to the client. This is when the concept of Dynamic Documents evolved.

Dynamic Documents are simply a group of paragraphs, often with a number of similar paragraphs with minor differences, which form a template.

dyndocs

Building dynamic documents

As anyone who has ever built a Lego set will tell you, following the instructions to build each of the modules is vital to prevent hours of frustration at the final stage of joining all the modules together. It’s the same with the construction of Dynamic Documents – each of the paragraphs needs to be thought through and in some cases split into 2/3 different variants to cater for different scenarios.

Embedding field codes

We’ve developed a number of ‘field codes’ which enable specific case information to be inserted into letter and email templates, which can also be incorporated into Dynamic Documents. Information like client names, children names and ages, date of marriage, etc can be inserted into paragraphs where needed – saving you time.

Generating a Dynamic Document for a case

To create the document for the client, choose the relevant Dynamic Document and select the relevant paragraphs, order each paragraph in the required sequence before making final minor adjustments to the text if needed.

dyndoc_para2

With more pressures on mediators to reduce the administrative burden of case management, it’s essential that repetitive tasks are simplified and streamlined. We believe that Dynamic Documents will help make that difference.

Dynamic Documents is part of the comprehensive features provided in Progress Mediation, case management for family mediation. We also support six other mediation types including civil / commercial, community and workplace.