Learn About E-Discovery Project Management

Lately, I’ve been writing most of my e-discovery project management posts on my other blog http://www.learnaboutediscovery.com … Here’s a quick round up of the most recent posts and I invite you to visit me over there some time!

 

  1. Being the Project Manager
  2. How important is COMMUNICATION to e-discovery projects?

  3. “New Job Title, Same Job? Becoming an E-Discovery Project Manager”
  4. Recently, I recorded a live training on e-discovery project management… the link on this post will soon convert to on-demand registration. Here’s a few extra notes from the webinar.
  5. I delivered a CLE last month on this topic. Here are a few notes from that lecture.
  6. Electronic Discovery Metrics: Why Metrics Matter

 

Check out my other blog: www.learnaboutediscovery.com or send me an e-mail erika at learnaboutediscovery.com

 

 

The Value Proposition of E-Discovery Project Management

It’s been over five years since the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were revised to clearly instruct and encourage litigators to engage early in managing electronically stored information. I’ve been in the litigation support industry since 1995 and project management skills have always been important to the success of litigation matters for which technology was involved. The Sedona Conference published a proclamation a few years ago stating the value of cooperation and project management methodology best practices in e-discovery. Recently, I shared this article outlining the value of project management with my students and thought you might like to read it as well. Here are the key points with my commentary… you can read the whole article here.

The value proposition for project management goes something like this. It takes time and effort to proactively manage a project. This cost is more than made up for over the life of the project by:

  • Completing projects more quickly and cheaply. – Cost and litigation budgets in general are typically the focus of the client. Most corporations have project managers within their business model and expect that their lawyers and legal teams do also. It’s not just about being quick and cheap but more so about not wasting time and money.
  • Being more predictable.    How can we predict costs and schedules if every litigation or e-discovery project reinvents the wheel? Project documentation includes metrics.
  • Saving effort and cost with proactive scope management. How much data (ESI) do we need to review? How much of it is relevant? What tools and resources exist to help us only review what we need to? An experienced e-discovery project manager can help you to navigate these waters.
  • Better solution “fit” the first time through better planning.  –
    My motto in litigation support has always been: The tools are not as important as the process. Define your process, then select the right tool for the job.
  •  Resolving problems more quickly.  Project management includes a communications and problem solving plan/ protocol.
  •  Resolving future risk before the problems occur.
    Experience and metrics will allow you to assess risks and plan a solution or solution options in advance.
  • Communicating and managing expectations with clients, team members and stakeholders more effectively. Managing expectations is a big deal. This is extremely difficult to do without the guidance of a project manager and a documented plan of action.
  •  Building a higher quality product the first time.  Improved financial management. This article is targeted to an audience of software developers but this sentiment applies in e-discovery, too. Think: document production.
  • Stopping “bad” projects more quickly. If a project is being effectively managed, someone will notice a problem before it turns into a train wreck.
  • More focus on metrics and fact-based decision making. Decisions based in facts derived from well documented metrics will provide the consistency of methodology, the courts are looking for.
  • Improved work environment. Who doesn’t want to work with a bunch of happy people?

 People who complain that project management is a lot of ‘overhead’ forget the point. All projects are managed. The question is how effectively they are managed.

A lot can be said for the value of project management in e-discovery… if you don’t have a project manager on your litigation team don’t worry, you can learn… keep reading this blog. 😉

 

An Animated View of Lawyers at a Rule 26f Conference « e-Discovery Team

Great teaching tool  – ice breaker, opener to a lesson on Rule 26f


An Animated View of Lawyers at a Rule 26f Conference « e-Discovery Team.


“I’m sorry, but the truth is, most attorneys today are like the clueless plaintiff’s counsel in this vignette. They do not talk about electronic discovery at all, even though the federal rules say they should. They avoid it. They fear it, primarily because they are untrained, and do not  know what to do. If opposing counsel brings it up, you are likely to get the kind of reaction you see in this video.”eDiscovery Team

Recently Found on Twitter

I wanted to title this post “Found on Twitter this Week” but I actually started writing it a few weeks ago… the information isn’t stale – at least I hope not. When I first started tweeting and following other Tweeters last year, I found myself looking at updates several times a day. Then I realized that I was tweeting and retweeting and reading articles that were linked to a tweet so much that I couldn’t get any of my “real work” done. It was so much good info… I naively thought that I could keep up and write a weekly post on what I’d found on Twitter. Ha ha ha! Reality set in and now I check daily but I limit myself to just a few tweets, retweets and everything else, I send myself an email to look at it later when I have an hour just for reviewing what I’ve found. So now that I have some time to review what I’ve found recently, I thought it would be selfish of me to keep it all to myself… especially for those of you who don’t follow Twitter …

** I saw a press release announcing the new edition of Michael Arkfeld’s book Electronic Discovery and Evidence

** Cloud computing is becoming more acceptable and mainstream in the business IT world. This article provides some key points that I believe future law suits and conflicts or issues with evidence stored in the cloud. The following quote is from the section that addresses e-discovery:

Considering that multiple copies of data may be created, stored, recompiled, dispersed, reassembled, and reused, determining what constitutes a “record” or a “document” for discovery purposes may be difficult to achieve in the cloud.

There is a “part 2” to this article which I also recommend. It includes useful checklists for corporate legal teams to address before entering into a cloud computing contract.

** In an article about controlling e-discovery costs, I found a popular e-discovery truth to actually be more of an urban legend or myth: cases don’t settle because the e-discovery costs are too high. Wow! Earth shattering news! Here’s the quote:

In my experience with commercial litigation, while e-discovery costs can be substantial, a case will rarely settle simply to avoid discovery costs when the amount in controversy exceeds it by several orders of magnitude. Even in smaller cases – like disputes with former employees – the cost of discovery driven by notice pleading is unlikely to force settlement because trial courts will grant relief from overly broad discovery requests.

This is why e-discovery project management is sooo vital an element to the case.  EDPMs have metrics available and can provide attorneys with the necessary information to make the strategic decisions early in the matter in order to avoid lopsided costs and spending.

** Another article I found thanks to twitter on this topic is geared towards attorneys:  “ 8 Things to Help Contain the Cost & Risk of Litigation”

** I’m a regular reader on PM Student’s blog. Do you wish you had at least 15 more hours every week to devote to your life outside of work?

Perhaps I’ll make it a point to clear out my inbox next week and share some of the other interesting things I’ve found lately on Twitter. In the meantime, you don’t have to have a Twitter account to view my tweets at twitter.com/lsptrainer.

Where in the World is Erika Santiago?

I know there is probably some sort of blogging rule against this but I’m posting this information on both of my blogs since some of the readership doesn’t overlap. Next week, I will be out and about here in Atlanta moderating a panel discussion for ALSP (Association of Litigation Support Professionals) and the next day speaking on project management for  ASDFED (The American Society for Digital Forensics & e-Discovery).

Learn more here on my Litigation Support Trainers blog. I hope to see YOU there and finally have a chance to meet you in person. 🙂

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.”