Projects come in all shapes and sizes, and can involve a couple of stakeholders and a few tasks, or hundreds of people, across a long period with a multitude of actions and desired outcomes. Manage and update the task list daily, weekly or monthly – depending on what is most appropriate for your project.
Empower a Project Manager who is responsible for maintaining the action matrix and its updates. Stick to your deadlines, and if a deadline is unfortunately going to be missed and extended – update all stakeholders and be transparent about this. In general, a framework is a logical structure intended to provide a simplified, yet comprehensive representation of a complex process that is independent of the tools and methods used in any particular situation.
The Project Management Team Model defines the project management team structure and roles in e-discovery projects.
The Project Management Process Model defines a high level sequence of activities for managing e-discovery projects. These models are independent of the scope of the project and the specific services, technologies or processes used to execute the project. For example, while a large scale project may require a detailed planning document covering a number of different aspects, the planning on a simple project can be accomplished by a short email. While the framework itself carefully avoids any components related to specific types of projects, processes or technologies, these resources do not have the same stringent requirement.
While the resources are screened and sometimes modified to be useful in a wide range of environments, they are by no means expected to be as universal as the framework. The resources section is expected to evolve as more resources are made available and as the nature of services themselves evolve. The EPMF Project Management Team Model defines the project management team structure and roles in e-discovery projects. In the most general situation, e-discovery projects typically involve a corporation, one or more law firms and one or more vendors. As seen in the diagram, each entity (corporation, law firm and vendor) includes a project management role.
It is important to explicitly identifying the project manager for each entity at the start of a project. The inward looking role of the project manager is usually defined by their organization’s internal processes.
The project manager’s outward looking role is driven by their participation in the integrated project management team along with project managers from the other entities.
The project managers of all participating entities have a combined responsibility for overall project success.
The framework does not specify any organizational structure among the members of the Integrated Project Management Team. Independent of the organizational structure, a collaborative environment which fosters open communications is a key to success.
The EPMF Project Management Process Model provides integrated project management teams a structured approach to collaboration and coordination.
The entities involved in a project take on the role of service providers or consumers based on the services being rendered. Understanding who the service provider is and who the consumer is for specific activities helps assign the responsibilities outlined in the Process Model.
The EPMF Project Management Process Model defines a high level sequence of activities for managing e-discovery projects. The Scoping Phase lays the foundation for project success by aligning all teams to a common vision and goals.
The Preliminary Planning Phase produces a simple project plan with sufficient details to enable the vendor selection process. During the Detailed Planning Phase, the integrated project management team develops a comprehensive plan detailing how the project will be executed. During the Startup Phase, project workflows and technology are setup and tested, User training is conducted and project assumptions are validated. By openly communicating the vision, goals, context and success criteria for the project, all teams can work towards a common vision. Explicitly stating the scope, assumptions, dependencies and special considerations helps make realistic plans along with realistic contingency planning and risk management. Since the consumer usually sets the vision and understands the constraints of the project, the consumer owns responsibility for this phase.
Risk management begins during the Scoping Phase and continues through the life of the project.
The preliminary plan addresses items such as technology and process, quality plan, rough timelines, etc.
A preliminary budget may also be produced during this phase to meet the internal needs of the consumer organization. A Request for Information (RFI) process may be used to gather preliminary information from multiple vendors to help develop a vendor selection plan. The selection process may take the form of an RFP process, selection from a list of pre-approved vendors or selecting a vendor based on prior experience or references.


Careful evaluation of the multiple criteria is important in picking the right vendor for the project at hand. Providing vendors with sufficient information put together during the Scoping and Preliminary Planning phases helps focus the proposals on the specifics of the project and how each vendor will handle the requirements. Holding a dialog regarding execution strategies as part of the selection process also helps mitigate the risk of vendors committing to unrealistic deadlines or other risky commitments due to competitive pressures.
By the end of the selection process, the selected vendor should already be aligned to the project’s vision and goals and all teams must have a common understanding of the project strategy. A budget or cost estimate based on the available information and stated assumptions should be generated and approved before final signoff. The level of detail and the number of areas to be covered by the Detailed Project Plan must be commensurate with the scope of the project. Planning and managing the startup phase explicitly highlights any potential gaps in the plan early in the process when issues are easier to address. The closeout phase also provides an opportunity for the teams to memorialize the lessons learned from their experiences on the project towards future process improvement. Risk management is an essential activity that has to be performed through the life of the project.
Risks arise from uncertainty surrounding project parameters, external dependencies and results.
Most risks have a negative impact on the project from a schedule, budget or quality perspective. The goal of risk management is to minimize the negative impacts associated with project risk while maximizing the positive impacts. An explicit decision not to do anything since the probability and impact are not high enough to justify the cost of mitigation. Using this guide would be great for people who want to manage their projects a little bit easier. As Tarun pointed out there are ‘++ Link to Template ++’ spots, but there are no active links. Development of this framework indicates to me that project management is about to go mainstream in the world of electronic discovery.
Does it make sense to even further simplify the framework by consolidating the Preliminary Planning, Team and Vendor Selection and Detailed Planning phases into a single Planning Phase?
Project Management PlanSince the Project Plan is the primary deliverable of this Planning phase, I am going to provide some details of the Plan here and provide a template to assist you in its composition.The Project Plan will begin with an Executive Summary describing the overall project, its purpose, when it was approved, by whom, and the overall objective.
Remember, developing an accurate, agreed-to Cost Baseline and Project Schedule (Schedule Baseline), during Project Planning, will become the basis for you, the PM, to measure project performance during the execution stages of the project. Project Work Breakdown & Project SchedulingFor the Project Planning phase, the WBS is important to ensure a decomposition of the work activities to the lowest level, the Work Package. From this Project Planning page go to the Project Initiation page for more information on initiating the project to better complete the project planninga€¦. Go to the PM Body of Knowledge page for more information on the PMBOKA® and PRINCE2A® methodologies and processes. Go to the Project Management Tools & Resources page for more information on Planning resources and templates. In my opinion the definition of project management is simple – overseeing the successful implementation of a project from inception to completion. A no brainer really – but ensure all stakeholders are regularly updated and everyone knows and understands their roles. When executing a project – assuming suppliers, stakeholders and team members are clear on what they are doing and understand timelines is a mistake. It is a distillation of the core elements of e-discovery project management into a series of structured models.
Rather than prescribing a specific series of procedures, it is flexible enough to accommodate a broad range of projects.
Hence, the framework can be used to manage a wide range of e-discovery projects (and litigation support projects in general).
The team model and process model are applicable and can be easily implemented even for the simplest of projects without much overhead.
In the interest of simplicity, the model describes one each of the three types of entities. There are also projects of limited scope where one of the three entities may not be involved. If a team is to perform the project management function for an entity, it is important to designate a lead responsible for coordinating the team. However, it is important that this aspect of their role is consistent with their responsibility to the overall project. Their coordinated performance as an integrated team is one of the fundamental principles of the EPMF. Teams may elect to have one organization take the lead or decide on a team of peers approach. The team must be able to rally behind common goals, create realistic plans, assess risks honestly, work with accurate status information and react to changes appropriately.


The most obvious service provider – consumer relationship exists between a vendor and the law firm engaging the vendor. For example, the corporation’s IT may be providing the service of identifying data sources relevant to a matter. For example, the consumer is responsible for defining the scope and constraints within which the service is to be rendered, while the service provider is responsible for providing status reports and metrics about the service being provided.
By defining the project scope and providing an overview of the context and constraints, this phase lays the foundation for project planning in the following phases. The project management team is focused on ensuring that the project is being executed per plan and making adjustments as necessary during this phase. Closeout includes archival and disposition of data, metrics summarization, project summarization, lessons learned activities and documentation archival. Moreover, all teams are aligned towards success of the overall project and can set the right priorities and make the right tradeoffs. In such cases, the Vision Scope Document produced during the Scoping Phase will help select a service provider who can support the vision. If the constitution of the team is already known, other team members may assist in the process. However, how the selection process is handled also has a significant bearing on project success in other ways. This also reduces the risk of problems down the road when some special considerations or unexpected requirements are encountered. On the other hand, this also helps identify and fix unrealistic expectations from the scoping and preliminary planning phases.
While larger, more complex projects require a very detailed plan, a simple document would suffice for projects with limited scope. The project management team should communicate on a regular basis and use structured reporting to aid clarity of communication. Some risks such as loss of data can adversely affect the case in a very serious manner (adverse inferences, sanctions, etc). Open, honest discussion of project risk leads to more accurate appraisal of project status and better informed decision making both within the project management team and by external stake holders. But I know that even the the very big firm I am working for has decided to exchange our own cherished (and painstaikingly maintained) project management methodology against the PMBOK.
Sometimes, companies may find it difficult to invest in new projects without analyzing the various options for generating returns and cost savings. We help our clients in devising a strategy for generating returns after possible speculations and observations. However if team cohesion does exist it is up to you to take ownership of the execution – particularly if you are in the role of Project Manager.
Understanding that there will be bumps in the road to navigate will leave you well prepared for the challenge. A number of recommended practices are provided to help project teams use the model successfully. The level of details and documentation covered within each step of the process can be varied based on the scope of the project.
For example, a project manager can only provide accurate progress reports only if their organization generates the information and makes it available to the project manager. The business relationship between the entities is also likely to have a bearing on the dynamics of the team. Hence, within a single project, multiple service provider – consumer relationships might exist. Each phase also includes a set of deliverables that the project management team is responsible for producing. Moreover, once the selection process is completed, the Vision Scope Document helps bring the team up to speed quickly. Preliminary planning is important since the statement of work is often formalized before the Planning Phase as part of the Vendor Selection Phase. This will help ensure that the relevant parties fully understand the proposed pricing model.
Expecting change and proactively managing it provides teams the opportunity to plan and develop strategies to reduce the negative impact of change. The Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) is quickly developping into a global standard.
Each entity has its own project manager and a set of internal teams involved in the project.
Within the law firm, the project management role is usually played by a litigation support manager, paralegal or attorney.
Within the corporation, someone from the legal department or IT typically takes on the role.



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