A multi-part series on eDiscovery program management issues facing serial litigants, including readiness, resources, service providers, metrics, and more
A great deal has been written and spoken about the challenges faced in individual eDiscovery projects and how best to meet them, but most organizations face far more than one eDiscovery project. Most face more than one a year, and many face more than one at once. For large corporations, the median number of active matters is 20.
For organizations that find eDiscovery a recurring part of their annual activity, there is more to consider than just best practices for executing each individual project. For example:
Rather than project management considerations, these are program management considerations. Program management should be an active concern for those attorneys and other legal department personnel responsible for eDiscovery activities within an organization. Effective program management can do even more than effective project management to reduce costs and risks and to increase predictability, consistency, and defensibility.
Taking the eDiscovery bull by the horns and beginning proactive management of your eDiscovery program can lead to significant increases in efficiency and reductions in cost. Much of the unnecessary costs and delays in individual projects arise from the chaos that comes without adequate readiness: uncertainty about what there is, about how it can be gotten, about what providers or processes to use, etc. Each project includes the cost and time of reinventing several wheels – cost and time that can be saved through effective program management.
Along with cost, defensibility is a primary concern about eDiscovery activities, and as with cost, defensibility can be improved with effective program management. The pillars of discovery defensibility are consistency and completeness, both of which are improved by proactive management in a variety of ways. For example:
Committing the time and effort to engage in proactive program management can yield these cost and risk reduction benefits to the organization, while also making each individual project easier to manage and complete effectively.
Upcoming in this Series
Over the course of this series, we will discuss a range of program management considerations, including: evaluating and improving readiness; evaluating needs and resources; insourcing, outsourcing, and service models; evaluating potential service providers; useful metrics to track and reports to generate; and, ongoing program maintenance and improvement. We will begin, in the next Part, with evaluating and improving readiness.