A multi-part series on eDiscovery program management issues facing serial litigants, including readiness, resources, service providers, metrics, and more
In the first Part of this series, we reviewed the concept of program management and its benefits. In the second Part, we discussed the evaluation and improvement of organizational litigation readiness. In the third Part, we discussed how to evaluate your existing needs and resources. In the fourth Part, we discussed the available solution models. In the fifth Part, we discussed the evaluation of eDiscovery service providers. In the sixth Part, we discussed tracking metrics for program management. In this Part, we continue our survey of program management topics with a look at ongoing program maintenance and improvement.
Unfortunately, the establishment of an effective, efficient eDiscovery program is not a one-and-done activity. Like all active programs or systems, it requires ongoing maintenance to ensure that it continues to be effective and efficient. For an eDiscovery program that means doing things like post-mortems, periodic program reviews, and more:
In addition to maintaining your program over time, you will undoubtedly want to improve it over time. One way to pursue such a goal is to establish a formal continuous improvement plan for your eDiscovery program. A continuous improvement plan is a plan for continual, iterative improvement of specific program metrics – attempting, each year, to make specific tasks marginally less expensive, or specific processes marginally faster to complete, or specific error types marginally less frequent. Similar goals can also be set for outside service providers as part of term-contracts for managed services.
As your organization undertakes the eDiscovery program management efforts described in this series, and as the program is improved further over time, you may wish to measure your overall organizational progress against some standard, like the five levels of a capability maturity model. Capability maturity models are a structured way of evaluating an organization’s functional capabilities in a particular service area. They were originally developed as part of the government’s process for contracting with software developers, but the concept has since been adapted to many other functional areas, including eDiscovery.
In general, the five levels of a capability maturity model represent five successive degrees of consistency and sophistication in an organization’s processes and execution:
The eDiscovery Maturity Model developed by EDRM applies those phases to the eDiscovery area in this way:
How far it makes sense for your organization to follow a path like this one will depend on the frequency and scale of your organization’s litigation and associated eDiscovery.
Upcoming in this Series
In the next Part of this series, we will conclude our survey of eDiscovery program management issues with a review of the key takeaways from across this series.