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Program Management

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.

  • eDiscovery Program Management Considerations
    • How ready is the organization for the next project?
    • Can that readiness be improved in any way?
    • Are available resources adequate to current needs?
    • What about future needs? Are needs changing?
    • Should we insource more? Outsource more?
    • How might we evaluate service providers?
    • What metrics should we track across projects?
    • Can we continue improvement over time?
  • Roles, Responsibilities, and Communications Guidance
    • Who are the relevant stakeholders in legal, IT, records, compliance, etc.?
    • Which responsibilities fall to in-house counsel and which to outside counsel?
    • Which activities will be handled by internal IT and which by outside service providers?
    • Who will be signing off on each phase of activity and ensuring its adequacy?
    • How will communications be handled to ensure both coordination and privilege?
    • What decisions can be made by phone and which require written confirmation?
  • Stakeholders to Interview
    • In-house and outside counsel
    • Paralegals and legal secretaries
    • IT/IS department personnel
    • Compliance or regulatory department personnel
    • Records management personnel
    • Third-party service providers
    • Internal or external document review teams
  • Ongoing Program Maintenance
    • Individual project post-mortems
    • Periodic service provider evaluations (and new RFIs)
    • Quarterly or annual program reviews
    • Annual policy, process, and playbook reviews
    • Quinquennial organization self-evaluation

Effective program management can do even more than effective project management to reduce costs and risks and to increase predictability, consistency, and defensibility. Read our in-depth posts below to learn how.

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Key eDiscovery Program Management Takeaways – Program Management Series, Part 8

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. Read to review the steps on how to maintain and improve eDiscovery programs and what they entail.

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Ongoing Program Maintenance and Improvement – Program Management Series, Part 7

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. Read to review the steps on how to maintain and improve eDiscovery programs and what they entail.

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Management Metrics for eDiscovery – Program Management Series, Part 6

There are advantages to moving beyond intra-project metric monitoring to inter-project metric monitoring.  When the relevant project details are captured across multiple projects in a standardized, normalized way, they reveal additional insights invaluable for proactive program management within an organization. Which metrics will be most useful to your organization will depend, to some extent, on the types of matters and eDiscovery activities in which your organization is most often engaged, as well as on your balance of insourcing and outsourcing.  Here, we will review examples of key project metrics to consider tracking for the realization of cross-project, program management benefits.

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Evaluating Potential Service Providers – Program Management Series, Part 5

In this segment, we discuss the proactive evaluation of service providers for the establishment of ongoing relationships, whether as a preferred provider, a managed services provider, or a total process outsourcing provider. This is generally accomplished through a Request for Information (“RFI”) process in which a service buyer collects desired information from a group of potential service providers in an organized way to facilitate comparison.  Here we will review the core competencies it is most important to investigate when planning an RFI for eDiscovery service providers, along with some tips for an effective RFI process.

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Evaluating the Available Solution Models – Program Management Series, Part 4

Before organizations begin proactive management of their overall eDiscovery programs, they typically make case-by-case decisions about service providers and resources, buying services à-la-carte and treating each matter as a one-off.  This approach offers great flexibility, but little predictability or consistency. Once organizations begin proactive management efforts, they must wrestle with the question of what functions to insource and which ones to outsource. Read further to learn the benefits and trade-offs of insourcing and (aggregated) outsourcing, and how to select the hybrid model that’s right for you.

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Evaluating Existing Service Needs and Resources – Program Management Series, Part 3

Engaging in effective, proactive management of an eDiscovery program requires a full understanding of how that program has been operating up to that point.  The complex, cross-departmental nature of eDiscovery projects can make the full cost and impact difficult to discern.  How are things currently done?  What is the true cost of doing them?  What internal and external resources are utilized?  Which activities must be undertaken most frequently?  How well do current resources fit current needs?  How are those needs changing over time? These are all questions that can be answered by undertaking a multi-prong investigation into your own program, including gathering input from key stakeholders, reviewing personnel and financial records, and studying eDiscovery and legal records. 

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Evaluating and Improving Organizational Readiness – Program Management Series, Part 2

Litigation readiness is a measure of how prepared an organization is to respond to the next litigation event that arises.  How quickly can the organization leap into action?  How long will it take to identify relevant sources and custodians?  How long to identify the resources needed to begin collections and review?  How many processes will have to be defined on the fly?  How many wheels reinvented?  How much unnecessary duplication of past work will take place? Continue reading to learn how to approach and answer these questions, and more.

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Taking the eDiscovery Bull by the Horns – Program Management Series, Part 1

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. Along with cost, defensibility is a primary concern about eDiscovery activities, and as with cost, defensibility can be improved with effective program management. Read on to learn how.

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