Project Management For Litigation Matters


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A basic introduction to Project Management principles for Litigation Matters

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  • That's what I guessed in my recent blog entry on your presentation ( I wrote:

    'I'm assuming her point is that few lawyers understand or respond to the jargon of project management and that it is better to clothe it in 'case management' or 'litigation support.' I understand why she would recommend this, but I also think that most law firms need to make fundamental changes in how they manage their work and that this requires a different mindset. I worry that trying to hide project management within business-as-usual will frustrate the transformation required for law practices to truly benefit from the efficiency and quality improvements that a legal project management program can create.'

    Of course, I realize that getting firms to overhaul how they monitor their legal work is a much larger challenge than getting them to at least buy into adopting some project management best practices, even if disguised as 'case management.'

    It's great to see folks like you discussing project management with your law firm clients. Keep it up!
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  • In my experience, 'project management' generally carries associations of being an 'IT thing' for many lawyers, and there is a risk that the relevance of project management techniques to litigation case management is dismissed as a result.

    I personally prefer to use the terms 'case management' or 'litigation planning' instead of project management. They are perhaps less precise, but sound more familiar to lawyers and don't carry the 'baggage' of PM terminology that many lawyers associate with anything BUT their litigation cases.

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  • Just wondering about your tip, '[d]on't say project management'. Why?
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Project Management For Litigation Matters

  1. 1. Project Management for Litigation Matters
  2. 2. What is Project Management?
  3. 3. Project Management is the discipline of planning, organizing, and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of specific project goals and objectives.
  4. 4. Project Management = Being Organized
  5. 5. A project is a finite endeavor (having specific start and completion dates) undertaken to create a unique product or service which brings about beneficial change or added value.
  6. 6. A Project = Something that needs to be Organized
  7. 7. Tip No. 1 Don’t say “Project Management”
  8. 8. Five Stages of a Project <ul><li>Define </li></ul><ul><li>Plan </li></ul><ul><li>Execute </li></ul><ul><li>Monitor </li></ul><ul><li>Review </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Define the project </li></ul>
  10. 10. Defining the project <ul><li>Define the overall goal </li></ul><ul><li>Break it down into meaningful interim goals </li></ul><ul><li>Watch for scope creep! </li></ul>
  11. 11. Tip No. 2 Don’t let Scope Creep happen to your project!
  12. 12. Defining the project <ul><li>Define the team </li></ul><ul><li>Define team members’ roles </li></ul><ul><li>Define team members’ responsibilities </li></ul>
  13. 13. Tip No. 3 Be clear about who is in charge of what.
  14. 14.
  15. 15. Defining the project <ul><li>Define your resources </li></ul><ul><li>Define your costs </li></ul><ul><li>Define your risks </li></ul><ul><li>Define your capabilities </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Plan the project </li></ul>
  17. 17. Planning the project <ul><li>Plan your tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Plan your subtasks </li></ul><ul><li>Plan who does what </li></ul><ul><li>Plan what gets done when </li></ul>
  18. 19. It’s all about the deadlines
  19. 20. Planning the project <ul><li>Plan for errors </li></ul><ul><li>Plan for change </li></ul><ul><li>Plan for the what-ifs </li></ul><ul><li>Plan for the unknowns </li></ul>
  20. 21. Planning the project <ul><li>Adjust your tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Adjust your subtasks </li></ul><ul><li>Adjust who does what </li></ul><ul><li>Adjust what gets done when </li></ul>
  21. 22. Tip No. 4 Be flexible.
  22. 23. Tip No. 5 Be prepared. For anything.
  23. 24. You can’t have too much planning
  24. 25. Tip No. 6 Lots of planning drives most lawyers crazy
  25. 26. You can’t have too much planning
  26. 27. <ul><li>Executing the project </li></ul>
  27. 28. Executing the project <ul><li>Just do it! </li></ul>
  28. 29. Executing the project <ul><li>Assign tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Assign deadlines </li></ul><ul><li>Bug people </li></ul>
  29. 30. Tip No. 7 Don’t exceed your authority
  30. 31. <ul><li>Monitoring the project </li></ul>
  31. 32. Monitoring the project <ul><li>What do you measure? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you measure it? </li></ul>
  32. 33. Monitoring the project <ul><li>What’s going wrong? </li></ul>
  33. 34. Monitoring the project <ul><li>Watch for changes to external constraints </li></ul>
  34. 35. Monitoring the project <ul><li>Be prepared to change </li></ul>
  35. 36. Tip No. 8 Communicate!
  36. 37. <ul><li>Reviewing the project </li></ul>
  37. 38. Reviewing the project <ul><li>What went right? </li></ul><ul><li>What went wrong? </li></ul><ul><li>What can be improved? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you need for next time? </li></ul>
  38. 39. Five Tasks of Project Management <ul><li>Identify </li></ul><ul><li>Assess </li></ul><ul><li>Plan </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate </li></ul><ul><li>Review </li></ul>
  39. 40. Identify
  40. 41. Assess
  41. 42. Plan
  42. 43. Identify | Assess | Plan <ul><li>Goals </li></ul><ul><li>Resources </li></ul><ul><li>Problems </li></ul><ul><li>Solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunities </li></ul>
  43. 44. Communicate
  44. 48. Communicate <ul><li>Listen to complaints </li></ul><ul><li>Get to the bottom of rumors </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid miscommunication </li></ul>
  45. 49. Communicate <ul><li>Be the clearinghouse for all information </li></ul><ul><li>Send weekly reports with “action items” and responsible parties clearly identified </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate often, but be selective </li></ul>
  46. 50. Review
  47. 51. Review <ul><li>Review often! </li></ul><ul><li>Review completed tasks and subtasks </li></ul><ul><li>Review planning for future tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Review goals and interim goals </li></ul>
  48. 52. Celebrate your successful project!
  49. 53. Project Management <ul><li>Thank You! </li></ul><ul><li>Debbie Westwood Director of eDiscovery and Legal Technology InTechGration (716) 885-3910 [email_address] </li></ul>