Thankful for Project Management
As folks go around their Thanksgiving tables tomorrow and share what they are thankful for, I suspect not many will offer “good project management!” But as I wrap up the workday and get ready for the holiday, I am indeed thankful for the skilled, dedicated project managers at DiscoverReady and throughout our industry.
Without effective project management, none of our work can succeed. We rely on powerful data processing engines, sophisticated analytics tools, custom-scripted hosting platforms, defensible workflows and protocols, and the experience and good judgement of our attorneys and technologists. . . But without a project manager guiding the work, our service delivery would be chaotic and inefficient—if we could get the work out the door at all.
At Relativity Fest earlier this fall, my colleague Sean McMechen, who leads our Project Management and Technology Services functions, presented a program on e-discovery project management. As he explained, the role of a “project manager” in our industry varies from place to place. In some organizations a project manager is an attorney managing document review; in others it’s a traditional “litigation support” role in the law firm paradigm; in others it’s a highly technical resource who handles processing, loading and productions; in others it’s a client services manager; and in others—including DiscoverReady—it’s a well-rounded e-discovery professional who applies well-defined project management principles to every phase of a project, from end-to-end. We adopted the end-to-end model because we believe there’s significant value in having one professional serve as the single point of contact across the entire matter, who can readily see the dependencies and risks across different stages of the project.
What does an end-to-end project manager do? Here’s a high-level list of their core responsibilities—
- Work Scoping
- Change Management
- Resource Management
- Workflow Management
- Timeline/Deadline Management
- Budget and Cost Management
- Facilitating Communications with Teams and Stakeholders
What does an experienced, highly-skilled project manager—like the ones I’m so thankful for—add to the mix? They are a strong communicator and a polished client services professional. They actively partner with clients and counsel to offer suggestions for process improvements and cost savings. They strive for transparency and accountability, and encourage counsel and client to be involved in the process. They have deep knowledge across the entire EDRM, and the technical ability to understand and implement the software tools used at each stage. And they have the curiosity and thirst for knowledge about areas beyond traditional e-discovery—information governance, data privacy and security, and corporate data analytics, for example—and they look for opportunities to deliver value to our clients in those areas as well.
Thank you, Project Managers. I hope you all have much to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving holiday.