Juicy bite-sized morsels of legal-project management from the week ending Saturday, January 22, 2011.
- wiseGEEK answers "What is Legal Project Management" in an article written by C. Mitchell and edited by John Allen. Overall, I think it is a good summary, but I don't quite agree with the following statement from the article: "There is no single definition of legal project management, as the phrase describes more of a practice philosophy than something tangible to implement." While there are many competing LPM approaches, most focus on providing a set of best practices, methodologies, and tools to implement.
- In a post to the 3 Geeks and a Law Blog, Toby Brown worries that LPM software systems are at risk of failing to deliver on their promises of increasing firm profits and business, in much the same way as CRM systems have failed to live up to their promise at most law firms. According to Mr. Brown, LPM systems must meet the same three challenges that most CRM systems fail: they must capture the right data, that data must be of sufficient quality, and lawyers need to change their behavior--in particular, they need to share their data.
Comments to the post, exchanged between Steven Levy and Toby Brown, point out that much of the reason for these software tools failing to live up to their potential is that the firms implementing them mistake the tools for the system. A successful LPM system must look at the tools, the processes, and the people. Behavior won't change for the better just because you buy a great tool and great processes can support profitable behavior, even without top-shelf tools.
Ayelette Robinson predicts that legal-project management will be "legalized" in 2011 in her contribution to this week's "Elephant Post" on the 3 Geeks and a Law Blog.
I predict that those trying to sell project management to law firms and law firm management will finally legalize it -- that is, they will find a way to weave it into how attorneys practice, rather than focusing on the new and different processes that attorneys need to go through in order to reap its benefits.
In a post to her Above and Beyond KM blog, Mary Abraham shares her notes on Mark I. Sirkin's presentation on the personality traits of lawyers and their suitability to lead or serve on project teams, made as part of Practicing Law Institute's recent day-long program on legal-project management. The post could be retitled "why lawyers make poor team players" and is a rather depressing read for anyone tasked with leading teams of lawyers.
Personally, when I read these personality trait studies, it reminds me of my reaction to taking the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessments. Fun to take, at times enlightening, but they remind me of Astrological horoscopes. The Forer effect (a/k/a P.T. Barnum Effect) seems to come into play.
Jerome Kowalski asks whether it is time for law firms to slough of real estate in a post to his Kowalski & Associates Blog.
- Steven Levy uses exercise as an analogy for project management in a tribute to Jack LaLanne on his Lexician blog.