Anyone who knows me knows I have a few obsessions – I’m “cyclelogically” obsessed with my bicycle and I am an absolute NASA-nut (thanks to Twitter and NASA Social for taking me to some really great places) and I’m a Duke grad, fan, devotee, groupie, you name it.
Importance of Vendor Management Procedures
One of the really cool things about listening to NASA broadcasts is listening to their checklist mentality – I love listening to launches and post landing shuttle era safing procedures as they made it safe to have the astronauts exit the orbiter. Key point: procedures made it safe.
The toughest part of the execution of a third party risk program is getting the procedures right. They should be so detailed and so organized that anyone can pick them up and arrive at the same result.
Creating Third Party Risk Procedures
Procedures are the step-by-step playbook of how to do the job; it must be granular, thorough, accurate and understandable. You know the procedures are documented well if someone starts at your organization, reads them and can then perform their daily responsibilities, or at least has the basics of their role down, just from the overview.
They can go on for hundreds of steps – sign on to this system, do this action, sign on to this screen and do this step, confirm and move on. They need to be tested, re-tested, stress-tested and updated annually, or more often as needed.
How Best to Write Them?
Have the person doing the job transcribe it to someone sitting beside them in such a way that they’re literally narrating their job. They should be accurate so that someone taking over their job could do it for a day without questions.
How Best to Test Them?
Here are a couple of ways to test your procedures:
- Have them read it out and have a person remotely do the same thing – is it accurate and does it return the same result?
- Job swap between people for a day and see if a lesser experienced person can get to the same result.
Best Practices Regarding Procedures
Here are a few best practices:
- Ensure the document is easy to follow, yet complete and includes all aspects
- Update the procedures as needed with any new changes internally
- Keep it as a living, working document
Can It Be Done Without Intervention?
Just like the astronaut and mission control relying on one another to read the same steps and get to the same result, so should your risk management team.
Before your third party risk management team ends up with “Houston, we have a problem”, make sure you have procedures to account for every possible eventuality.
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