Pam, Jim, Steve, and GrizzlyBear

Yesterday the three leading voices in Legal Project Management training had a mini-summit. The Center for Competitive Management invited Jim Hassett, Pam Woldow, and me to speak for an hour on Legal Project Management for law firms: the 50,000-foot overview, some best practices, how to drive acceptance...

Can You “Demo” Project Management? An Introduction

In a column I write that deals with business and people-management questions, I described a very effective demo where the demoer showed up his product without appearing to demo it at all. In response, someone from Planbox, a company that makes project management software , asked, "Do you plan...

Demoing a Project Management Tool: Part 1

Yesterday I introduced a series of articles in which I'll address two questions: How would I demo project management tools to an audience of accidental project managers? Can you "demo" great project management itself? This article begins a short series responding to the first...

Productivity and Multiple Monitors

My estimable colleague Rees Morrison this morning has a brief roundup of statistics regarding productivity and multiple monitors . Project management is tightly tied to productivity, which is why this subject matters so much to me. Multiple monitors are a boon - an enormous one - if and only if...

Three Inexpensive Productivity Boosters

Happy December. Yesterday I wrote about multiple monitors, calling them the third-least-expensive productivity tool you can get for your team. I suspect that raises an obvious question. If multiple monitors are #3, what are #2 and #1? 3. Multiple Monitors (Under $150) Two weeks ago, I picked...

Should Clients Pay for Meetings

Yesterday I noted in passing the client objection to paying for meetings . This is also a question that has come up repeatedly at recent training courses I've done. In all my years on the client side, I usually pushed against paying for meetings involving, say, three or more people. I'm very...

What Does a Survey of Programming Languages Have to Do With Legal Project Management?

eWeek, an IT weekly, just released a survey of the most sought after (paid jobs) computer programming languages. I was both surprised and intrigued to find that the top three were Java, C, and C++. They have three things in common, one of which is a meaningful metaphor for LPM. The names...

Goodbye, Jack LaLanne

Jack LaLanne died today at the age of 96. What I found most interesting about Jack LaLanne was that he said he hated exercising. He made no bones about it; he didn't enjoy it. But he did it because the benefits were well worth the costs. Legal Project Management and Jack LaLanne have something...

Project Management and Technology

Yesterday I noted some highly successful large-scale projects that succeeded without the use of project management technology. I make this point - which I also make in my book Legal Project Management and my classes - because I continue to encounter people who believe there's a technology "solution"...

The Biggest Technology Boost in Legal Project Management

This week, I've written a series of articles pointing out that Legal Project Management is not dependent on project-management technology. So what's the most important thing a project manager can do to improve her use of technology, to use technology better to manage legal projects? Actually...

When Projects Go Bad

There is a wonderful old Gary Larson cartoon titled "When potato salad goes bad." It shows a bowl of potato salad in a refrigerator holding up various other foods at gunpoint. Projects don't go bad in quite the same way. But they smell as moldy as month-old potato salad when they do...

Outsourcing: Bad Word or Wrong Word?

(Note: Today's article is a bit off my usual Legal Project Management beat.) Ron Friedmann this morning presents an interesting way to look at outsourcing . His most striking point, I think, is this: Every law firm employee, in fact, works for an outsourcing organization. In-house counsel...

Watson Takes on E-Discovery

By now you've likely seen the NY Times article about computers and e-discovery . For folks in the legal field, the content of the article isn't news, I trust: Computer analysis is making huge inroads in e-discovery and is in many cases replacing attorneys (and their jobs). Think about the...

Risk Aversion and the Princess Bride

Rees Morrison has an interesting post this morning bridling at a vendor comment reported in KM World that "We trust our legal department to be risk-averse and process-oriented...." He takes on the process-oriented trope; I'm more interested in the "risk-averse" side of the...

A Simple Example of Project Management

People have sometimes asked me for a simple definition of project management. The PMI (Project Management Institute) definition pretty much requires you to be a project manager before you can understand it. That's fine; PMI caters to actual and aspiring project managers. In the real world,...

Working Hard or Hardly Working?

The city/county/state is doing a major rebuild of the streets leading to the Interstate exit closest to my house in Seattle. My office is in my home, and when I travel I take another road to the airport, so I get to see the road construction once every week or two. You'd think that at one-...

How Dumb Is the Pointy-Haired Boss?

Scott Adams and Dilbert regularly ridicule management, usually represented by the pointy-haired boss, or PHB. Over the many years Adams has been drawing the strip, he's certainly found plenty of targets for ridicule. Many of them have struck home with workers and bosses alike. I thought...

Legal Project Management by another Name

Jay Shepard has an interesting post today at Above the Law where he talks about the need for partners to teach associates to be future partners . He lists seven things a teaching partner should do to strengthen the firm for the future: Be consistent. Share the whole picture. Provide...

Specifications Failure!

Here's a picture of the field from Sunday's Jaguars-Saints football game, from NFL.com: Look at the directional arrows painted on the field next to the yard markers. Compare the arrow on the 10-yard line at the top of the picture with that at the bottom. (They're supposed to point...

Can Project Managers Win by Being Annoying?

Some project managers lead successful projects by working well with the members of their team, their business partners/clients, and so on. Actually, most successful project managers are successful because they know how to work with people. Sometimes, in difficult situations and get-us-out-of-this...

Everyone’s Trying to Get in on the Act

I saw an ad today for a university-sponsored legal project management 1 course for in-house counsel. I checked out the instructors, figuring that a reputable university would of course engage one of the specialists in this area. In this case I assumed it would be one of my colleague-competitors...

Steve Jobs, Teamwork, and Legal Project Management

Jonah Lehrer writes in Wired and The New Yorker about Steve Jobs using architecture to inculcate teamwork when he took over Pixar. He insisted that Pixar's headquarters be designed so that disparate groups of employees were forced to come together for certain functions. He insisted on a large...

Can Lawyers Learn From Best Buy?

Larry Downes in Forbes has an article on the decline and (they presume) fall of Best Buy . Other than the hagiography of Amazon.com, 1 there are some very interesting points in the article. Before you read it, though, consider what you think intuitively is Amazon's core advantage over Best Buy...

Can Lawyers Learn From Best Buy?

Larry Downes in Forbes has an article on the decline and (they presume) fall of Best Buy . Other than the hagiography of Amazon.com, 1 there are some very interesting points in the article. Before you read it, though, consider what you think intuitively is Amazon's core advantage over Best Buy...

“Data Driven”: In a Car, Is the Driver a Bug… or a Feature?

Driver: Bug or Feature? "The fact that you're still driving is a bug," [Google's Anthony] Levandowski says, "not a feature." I'm sure there'll be the inevitable responses about computer crashes vs. auto crashes, but Levandowski has a point. Read the sentence...