Law Firm Knowledge Management, An Introduction

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An introduction to law firm knowledge management by Connie Crosby and Stephanie Barnes, presented at lawTechCamp 2012 in Toronto on May 12, 2012.

Slide 14 (the Knowledge Management Technology graph) is further discussed here: http://www.slaw.ca/2012/06/11/km-101-more-on-technology-complexity/

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  • The key to success with technology is taking a balanced approach, considering people, process, and technology. By understanding people, and processes, the appropriate supporting technology can be selected and implemented.
  • There are many types of technologies as you can see from the above that diagram and a lot of them overlap which makes it difficult sometimes to pick the right one. For this reason, it’s important to understand whether it’s for individual use or group or team use or organization or enterprise use. Once you understand that you can start to narrow down the possibilities. Then you need to understand what types of activities are going to be performed using the technology: is for scanning are mapping i.e. understanding what knowledge exists; is it for capturing or creating; is it for packaging or storing; sharing and applying; or transforming and innovating? All of these things are criteria that will influence the selection of the technology. Everything from search to social media to business intelligence and data warehouse technology can be determined using the answers to these questions.
  • The process for determining supporting knowledge management technology is outlined in this slide. The steps start with collect and move through analyze resolve selecting the technology designing and developing, and testing the actual implementation then use and finally evolving the technology platform.In the collect phase business processes are collected and analyzed as our information flows. The organization strategy and plan, as well as the IT strategy and plan. It is important to collect this information at the start of the project and involve the various stakeholders from across the organization so that the process of organization buy-in and acceptance is started as soon as possible.In the analyze phase the information collected in the first step is compared against best practices for human, social, and intellectual capital best practices. In this way the gap analysis is determined between the current state versus the to be state. Assuming that the organization is headed towards some best practices state depending on their organizational culture, which is a part of understanding the people in the organization.In the resolve stage policies. Knowledge management processes and flows metrics strategic goals and governance are all addressed and compiled in a strategic plan document for the organization. This plan lays out the knowledge management initiative: what it will do, how it will do it, who will be involved, budgets, metrics, how the organization will know that they’ve been successful. All of these things, including the implementation plan as much is a can be determined at that stage. The implementation plan will have several phases and extend over a 3 to 5 year time horizon. Starting with initial planning and rollout of a pilot and moving through an organization-wide rollout and maturation of the activities and processes.With the completion of the resolve step there is adequate information to go to market and determine what off-the-shelf technology is available. In the case where off-the-shelf technology isn’t available, it will at least be enough information to start the engagement of developers to develop a customized software application. Customized software creation will require additional rounds of requirements analysis in order to get enough detail for the developers to create a platform, which meets user needs and requirements. To select technology, it is important to understand the requirements of the users and involve them in the process of reviewing vendors. This user involvement in the selection process improves user acceptance down the road and ensures that users have identified all their major requirements. Often, users don’t know what they want, so sometimes seeing the selection of vendor applications can help them get a better handle on what would be useful and what isn’t useful, thus making sure the investment in technology is one that the users will actually use.Design, develop and test, is a critical and time-consuming step. It is important that the application be designed, or in the case of off-the-shelf software configured to meet user requirements. Including users in the testing phase, so that the application works as they expected it to work is key. It’s not enough to have the developers test and make sure it works the way that they understood the developers are the ones who will be using it the users have to be involved in user testing with appropriate documentation of use cases and a bug or error feedback mechanism. Testing should also include the more technical load testing to make sure that the system works on the hardware that has been purchased for it. And in the organization’s network information technology environment that will stand up to the load of users using it on a regular basis. Once all this testing is done the stakeholders need to sign off on the move to production.In the implementation, step change management becomes much more important. While there has been communication, training and education happening slowly or at various points along the earlier steps. Once the implementation phase it started there is a big push for communication, training, and education so that users are ready to start using the application. Process documentation should be modified at this step so that users have updated documentation to use. It is also at this point that baseline metrics will be finalized and implemented.During the use, step users are using the application. The governance team is governing the application and its general the business is you usual. There should be a feedback mechanism as part of governance to record user feedback and input for changes are things that aren’t working the way that they wished even with user involvement in the earlier steps. There is often things that have snuck through and made it into production that should not have.This feedback is used to modify and improve future phases of the technology and the KM program generally, it is fed into the evolve step of the knowledge management roadmap process along with other changes that the organization may make to its processes and strategies.
  • Law Firm Knowledge Management, An Introduction

    1. 1. An Introduction to Knowledge Management for Law FirmsLawTech Camp 2012May 12, 2012Connie Crosby, Crosby Group ConsultingStephanie Barnes, Missing Puzzle Piece Consulting
    2. 2. Connie Crosby • Consultant in KM, IM, library management and social media • Law Librarian with MLS from University of Toronto • Information Management certificate from U of T • 10 years as Library Manager & webmaster at prominent Toronto law firm • Instructor at iSchool Institute, Faculty of Information, U of T • Core contributor to Slaw.ca
    3. 3. Stephanie Barnes • Accountant and IT Management by education • KM consultant by choice • Chief Chaos Organizer at Missing Puzzle Piece Consulting, Knoco franchisee • 4 yrs KM at HP • 8+ yrs as consultant to a variety of companies including BMO, HSFO, Kodak, HP, Zenon Environmental, OSC, CIBC, ENEC • Based in Toronto
    4. 4. What is Knowledge Management? Connecting people to the knowledge they need to do their jobs, whether that knowledge is tacit (in people’s heads) or explicit (documented).
    5. 5. Some Benefits of KM• Better organization Helping partners, associates and assistants get their hands on the right documents and information when they are needed.
    6. 6. Some Benefits of KM• Better organization• Better use of knowledge assets Make better use of internally developed knowledge assets such as precedents, letters, research memoranda, and filings.
    7. 7. Some Benefits of KM• Better organization• Better use of knowledge assets• Knowledge sharing Be prepared for a partner or associate leaving the firm. Help lawyers share what will be needed to continue the firm’s business.
    8. 8. Some Benefits of KM• Better organization• Better use of knowledge assets• Knowledge sharing• Improved learning Use “Lessons Learned” techniques as you work; make assessments and continually improve processes for better client service.
    9. 9. Explicit Knowledge (documented knowledge)• Business plans• Client lists• Work product (letters, factums, agr eements)• Forms and Precedents• Meeting minutes• Blogs/wikis Based on a slide by Steven Lastres
    10. 10. Tacit Knowledge (knowledge in individuals’ heads)• Social networks• In-house training• Mentoring• Communities of Practice / Practice groups• Matter summaries Based on a slide by Steven Lastres
    11. 11. Knowledge Flow People to Knowledge Repository •Sharing, e.g. Communities of •Knowledge artefact Practice, mentoring, expertise creation, e.g. location documentation, lessons learnedPeople Communicating Collecting from Accessing OrganizingKnowledge •Learning, e.g. on-the-job •Systematizing concepts, e.g.Repository training, lessons learned, peer assists, searching meta-data, taxonomies Based on Nonaka and Takeuchi, “The Knowledge Creating Company,” p62
    12. 12. Approach PeopleTechnology Process © Missing Puzzle Piece Consulting, 2012 12
    13. 13. Change Management (People)• Communication Plan• Training and Education Plan• Stakeholder managementAll three will need to be updated/evolved as the program progresses © Missing Puzzle Piece Consulting, 2012 13
    14. 14. Knowledge Management Technology Organization/ Business Intelligence/ Data Warehouse Enterprise eDiscovery Communities of CRM, Contact Centre, IncidentContext Practice, Expertis Management/Helpdesk e location Group/team Records Social Management Media ECM Document Capture Component Content Management Portal Collaboration Individual Search Learning Management/eLearning Scan, Capture, Package, Share, Transform, Map Create Store Apply Innovate Adapted from: Knowledge Managements by Despres and Chuvel, Journal of KM, vol 3, no. 2 1999, p119. © Missing Puzzle Piece Consulting, 2012 14
    15. 15. Knowledge Management FrameworkGovernancePurpose, Vision, Goals, Objectives Oversight Enabling Activities Policies and Procedures Change Management Lifecycle Processes Staffing Component Activities Metadata and Taxonomies Technology Documented Sharing and Professional Development Document Handling Supporting Innovation Knowledge Collaboration Version Control Metrics and Measurement Privacy
    16. 16. Framework - Component Activities
    17. 17. Documented Knowledge• Portal/Intranet• Document Management• E-mail Management• Enterprise Content Management (ECM)
    18. 18. Documented Handling• Document Assembly• Component Content Management• Records Management
    19. 19. Sharing and Collaboration• Lessons Learned• Communities of Practice / Practice groups• Social Media• Collaboration• Expertise Location
    20. 20. Supporting• IT Management• Workflow• Search
    21. 21. Innovation• Idea Management• Business Intelligence
    22. 22. Documented Knowledge Lifecycle Process•Collaboration Storage •Distribution Manage •Removing documents and•Workflow •Collaboration related metadata from the•Authentication/Approval •Location •Retrieval •Review active repository •Filing •Re-use •Report •Stored in a separate area in •taxonomy a future readable format •metadata •Access control Create/Capture Use/Retrieve Archive/Delete
    23. 23. Knowledge Management Roadmap Evolve Use •Change Mgmt Implement •Change Mgmt Design/ •Change Mgmt Develop/ Test Select •Processes technology •Change •Metrics Resolve: Mgmt •Change Analyze: •Policies Mgmt •Knowledge &Collect: •Human, Socia process flows l, and•Business •Metrics Intellectual Processes Capital Best •Strategic•Information Practices Goals Flows •Change •Governance•Organization Mgmt •Change Strategy and Mgmt Plan•IT Strategy and Plan•Change Mgmt © Missing Puzzle Piece Consulting, 2012 23
    24. 24. Case Study: Osler, Hoskin & HarcourtKM Technology KM Results,if known ImplementationPortal Successful User acceptance of the platform because they were involved at each step of the process and a technology was selected that met their requirements.Description:Focused on choosing the right knowledge management technology platform, which includedgathering the right people to build, promote and champion the platform. The team had to befamiliar with the iterative nature of the implementation and most importantly they had tosupport and believe in the vision for the new Intranet and be in a position to evangelize it to theirpeers.Since the launch of Oslernet, a number of these key groups were included on a steeringcommittee to continuously advise on the ongoing evaluation and evolution of the Intranet. TheIntranet team created a detailed Help Protocol to identify and redirect any issues that users werehaving to the appropriate experts for quick resolution regardless of the channel through whichthe request came. Substantive legal questions, for example, may come into the IS Service Deskbut are re-directed to the appropriate knowledge management lawyer. © Missing Puzzle Piece Consulting, 2012 24
    25. 25. Case Study: Hicks MorleyKM Technology KM Results, if known ImplementationWiki-based Successful User acceptance of the platform because they ran a pilotCMS with a simple wiki in a small early adopter group to gatherThoughtFarmer requirements, and had a senior partner champion.Description:Under-utlized HTML-based intranet was replaced with a wiki-based content management system.A pilot with some inexpensive wiki software with a small practice group produced good earlyresults and allowed for requirements gathering. ThoughtFarmer met the requirements. NewIntranet was launched firm-wide within 6 months from start of pilot to full implementation.Since the launch of ThoughtFarmer, a social enterprise layer including profiles and tagging hasbeen implemented. Early success came in the form of a senior partner who, previously sceptical,found immediate value in the new system and went on to promote use of the new platformwithin the firm. Documents and content are being added by members of the firm from all levels.The Knowledge Management team review content to ensure metadata is correctly in place. Newfeatures are being added as more needs are being identified. 25
    26. 26. Learn moreAligning People, Process and Technology in Knowledge ManagementBy Stephanie BarnesArk Group report, 2011
    27. 27. Learn moreKnowledge Workers Toronto monthly meetup group1. - Methods:http://toronto.methods.knowledgeworkers.org/2. - Technology:http://toronto.technology.knowledgeworkers.org/
    28. 28. Learn More• Ted Tjaden - http://www.slaw.ca/author/tjaden/• Heather Colman- http://www.llrx.com/authors/1155• Patrick DiDomenico - http://lawyerkm.com/• Mary Abraham - http://aboveandbeyondkm.com/• Tom Baldwin - http://kmpipeline.blogspot.ca/• David Hobbie - http://caselines.blogspot.ca/• Nick Milton (Knoco) - http://www.nickmilton.com/• ILTA KM - http://km.iltanet.org/• 3 Geeks and a Law Blog - http://www.geeklawblog.com/search/label/KM
    29. 29. Thank you Law Firm KM LawFirmKM.com Connie Crosby connie@lawfirmkm.com 416-919-6719 Stephanie Barnesstephanie@lawfirmkm.com 416-522-5126

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