Project managers and eDiscovery teams face a number of challenges during the lifespan of a project. Challenges can range from the expected (i.e. periodic technical difficulties) to the unforeseeable (i.e. large increase in size of database). Effective project management is the key to ensuring deadlines and budgets are met even in face of the biggest hurdles.
Change and challenges happen in every eDiscovery project. These forces will arise suddenly and may continue throughout the project. Strong project managers know to take steps in advance of any eDiscovery project to prevent some problems and minimize the impact of others. Consider the following to proactively minimize challenges on your next eDiscovery project:
- Hire the Right Team Leader(s) for this Project. Team leaders are often brought in to support project managers in various aspects of the case. They are also responsible for reviewing documents. An effective team leader is extremely helpful to ultimate success of the project.
Project managers should take the time to consider which person will best fulfill the needs of the project in question. Not everyone is right for the job or for such roles on all projects.
Identifying the right person for the role requires looking at the following:
- Leadership qualities exhibited by the person regarding answering questions, identifying appropriate issues to elevate and solving problems;
- Confidence and experience with the use of the relevant technologies;
- Comfortable working relationship and communication style with the project manager;
- Experience level regarding the substantive legal issues in question.
- Review the Database before the Project Starts. It is often unclear what issues the documents will present until the review starts. Those uncertainties can be minimized if the Project Manager reviews the overall structure of the database before the projects starts. Project managers consider the following issues based on a review of the database before beginning of the project:
- Whether the size and makeup of the batches appears to be correct;
- Whether the number of documents within the database is consistent with previous communications with the client or vendor;
- Whether recurring types of documents exist within the database; this analysis can help the project manager ask more effective and insightful questions of counsel during the initial training call;
- Whether there are alternative and more effective ways to set up the document batches or coding palette; these alternatives can be discussed with the client and/or requested from the vendor;
- Whether opportunities exist for analyzing data and reducing the size of the database; this can save the client money and/or time.
- Begin to Plan a Quality Control (QC) Process Before the Project Start. The QC is often managed on-site by the project manager and performed by reviewers during the project. This can take many forms and may be subject to the approval and input of the client and/or counsel. An effective QC adds a great deal of value to eDiscovery projects.
This process works best when it is developed in advance of the project start. This allows the project manager the flexibility to start QC very early in the project if desired. Also, it results in a more focused and efficient QC. Project managers should consider including the following when developing an initial QC process:
- Substantive key terms from the review protocol that will likely need to be searched;
- Whether the QC search process will be batch by batch, reviewer by reviewer or database wide;
- What type of QC feedback is planned to be shared with review team members.
Experienced project managers, like those at Tower Legal Solutions, recognize that the best way to address the challenges that arise during every eDiscovery project is to develop solutions before the start of the project. Projects can move very quickly and challenges can develop suddenly. This style of proactive management has proven to benefit clients through increased efficiency and effective decision-making.
BY: GABE KUHFUSS
ABOUT TOWER AND THE AUTHOR
TOWER LEGAL SOLUTIONS AND TOWER CONSULTING SERVICES HAVE SPECIALIZED KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERTISE THAT HAS PROVEN TO HELP COMPANIES REDUCE THEIR LEGAL SPEND AND TO COST EFFECTIVELY MANAGE EDISCOVERY PROJECTS. TOWER HAS A NATIONAL PRESENCE WITH OFFICES IN NEW YORK, WASHINGTON D.C., CHARLOTTE, DALLAS, MINNEAPOLIS AND LOS ANGELES. GABE IS AN EXPERIENCED ATTORNEY LICENSED TO PRACTICE IN MINNESOTA. HE IS CURRENTLY THE PROJECT MANAGER IN THE MINNEAPOLIS OFFICE OF TOWER.
Learn more about Tower Legal Solutions: www.towerls.com