Which PM Methodology is the “Right One” for Your EDD Project?

We’ve heard / read a lot lately about the increasing importance and visibility of project management in e-discovery. This leads me to ask: Which PM methodology or approach really makes the most sense for managing litigation and/or e-discovery projects today? Which one is working for you? Why?

There are three project management methodologies that have surfaced in the e-discovery industry (so far):

1. Project Management Institute – PMI / PMBOK. This is what we generally know as project management.

2. Six Sigma – quite a few corporate legal departments over the years have implemented this project management methodology. Jeff Beard wrote about Six Sigma a few years ago on his blog… and it seems that some law firms have taken his advice.

3. Agile project management – this is a more collaborative approach, self organizing instead of role or power-based… the success of the team is the focus … I recently came across a good argument for why Agile project management might be the next “big thing” in e-discovery project management. Agile project management is really about software development so it takes a bit of imagination to critically think about how to apply it to e-discovery project management. In the blog, the author is critiquing the EDRM to show how Agile can be applied… I would add that she’s not the only one who has recently posed questions about how we (as an industry) apply the EDRM and/or adopt it as our standard workflow. I fully expect this part of the conversation to continue. Perhaps that is a topic for another post… today, let’s discuss which approach to project management will work best for your e-discovery project?

What do you think?

I have my own thoughts… but I’m really interested in what works for you.

Making the Case for e-Discovery Project Management

Electronic Discovery project management is not limited to IT professionals or Litigation Support Professionals. It also includes paralegals and most importantly the attorneys themselves who are traditionally are our project sponsors. It is definitely a team effort. Today’s litigators must take on the role of project leader or at the very least engage in a more involved understanding of what is going on with the e-discovery projects related to the case. Roles & responsibilities on a project team are not necessarily defined by the traditional roles we are familiar with in the legal environment like attorney, litigation support professional, paralegal, database analyst, the “IT Guy.”

In recent months many in our industry have been very outspoken about the function and best practices of e-discovery project management. Do you feel the need to “make a business case” for project management at your organization? Follow the links below to see some of the key points you may need to make regarding why your organization needs to focus more on project management roles and best practices for every member of your case team.

This conversation began in large part as a result of The Sedona Conference’s white paper on achieving quality found here.

Ralph Losey probably has been the most outspoken on this topic.  Any of his recent blog posts will help you to make the case for project management but I’m going to specifically recommend this one from last May.  And don’t skip the comments… great feedback from his readers.

You can listen to a podcast from ESI Bytes.

Check out Mike McBride‘s blog series on his firm’s e-discovery blog. Parts One, Two and Three.

What is the value of Six Sigma in litigation project management or e-discovery? Paul Easton asks on his recent blog post.

How much should attorneys rely on IT to perform litigation project management? This post from the U.K. gives some food for thought.

And finally…after you’ve listened and read through all of the above… you can hit ’em with this quote from the Law Technology News article summarizing the results of this years’ Socha-Gelbman report:

“Project management has grown in prominence as a means to minimize missteps and deliver more predictable, reliable, and cost-effective results.” Seventh Annual Socha-Gelbmann Electronic Discovery Survey- LTN Article summarizing the results

I had some other links I could share, shoot me an email and I’ll happily send them to you too… electronic discovery project management is a hot topic these days and will continue to increase in importance as corporate legal departments, government agencies and law firms look to those with project management skills to “deliver more predictable, reliable and cost-effective results.”