Eight Common Problems Solved by Legal Project Management
Correcting any one of these could increase your bottom line.
1. Unclear, expanding or shifting objectives and scope
Set objectives and define scope. The seeds of budget and scheduling failures are often planted at the start. At the outset, you must know and record exactly what is included in each assignment – and what is not.
2. Lack of organization
Identify and schedule activities. Break the matter down into smaller tasks that can be better budgeted, scheduled, staffed, and managed so that a problem in one task can be identified and solved before it throws the others – and the entire project – irretrievably off course.
3. Ineffective management of valuable personnel
Assign tasks and manage the team. Assigning the right tasks to the right people is not enough. You must create a sense of teamwork, guide the process, monitor performance and motivate staff in the face of competing priorities.
4. Budget guesstimating
Plan and manage the budget. Estimating and controlling costs is very difficult, but absolutely essential. Careful tracking, constant communication and early adjustments – on the task level -- can prevent write-downs.
5. Failure to prevent problems before they occur
Assess risks to the budget and schedule. Alternative plans for the most likely and damaging threats should be in place at the outset. Developing a Plan B only after a problem occurs causes delays, raises costs, diverts focus and creates an air of crisis.
6. Compromising quality
Manage quality. Everyone must be clear it’s about cost-effectiveness, not shortcuts.
7. Excellent legal work that nevertheless fails to meet client expectations
Manage client communications. This is extremely important to clients even if they neglect their end of it. Vague and shifting client objectives and priorities require you to build regular, two-way communication into the project plan. Otherwise, it will be neglected in the focus on the matter itself.
Negotiate change orders. Changes are inevitable. The key to success is learning when and how to negotiate their costs with the client.