Knowledge Management and Legal Project Management

On October 26, 2010 I attended day one of Ark Group’s two-day Knowledge Management in the Legal Profession conference in New York City. Day one was really a pre-conference workshop on Legal Project Management (LPM), which was wonderfully facilitated by Joshua Fireman, VP and General Counsel of ii3, and Andrew Terrett, Director of Knowledge Management at Borden Ladner Gervais (Terrett is also Certified Project Manager (PMP), which was especially relevant to the workshop).

Joshua and Andrew did a very nice job of presenting a high-level overview of project management, including key definitions, why lawyers need project management, key PM concepts, PM application to legal services and the role of KM in LPM.  The second half of the day was spent in work groups hypothetically implementing PM in a case study.

What is the Role of KM in Legal Project Management?

I won’t get into all the details because others have written a lot about the KM – LPM connection Read more

Project Management Anatomy – Standards, Roles, Responsibilities and Skills (from ILTA)

ILTA – August 27, 2008 11:00 am

These are my notes from the program.  [Since I am taking paper-free notes and because there is free Wi-Fi here, I thought that I’d add the notes to the blog.  Disclaimer: my notes are rough, so forgive the typos.]

From ILTA:

Title: Project Management Anatomy – Standards, Roles, Responsibilities and Skills
Description: You’ve just been assigned the role or title of “PM” and not exactly sure what that means, or you’re a project manager looking to be even more effective, or your firm is considering adding a project manager position to the staff.  We discuss the different roles that project managers play and the key skill sets that are important to be successful.

Juliet Alters – Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, L.L.P
Heidi Golabek – Shearman & Sterling
Kristin Linoski – Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.
Judy Katany – Huron Consulting Group
Scott David – Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP
Learning Objectives: Understand the skills and responsibilities included in a typical job description of a project manager.
Recognize different skill sets that impact the success of a project manager.
Chart project manager career growth and/or development opportunities.

LawyerKM’s notes:

Where does PM sit within the firm:
Some in IT, some are not yet formal, some are one-person PMOs

Art and Science of Project Management

Art – negotiation, communication
Science – budget, scope, etc.
Three Cs:communication, collaboration, and closure.  Need to know your audience when communicating. 
People, processes and technology are the three pillars. 
Collaboration – how to get it.  It goes back to communication; build trust, stand up and support your team, PM is like a movie director, provide guidance without over-directing.
Humor is important – to relieve stress.
Closure – this is most important, of course.  Need a sense of completion.  Post-implementation review (post-mortem has a negative connotation), document it for lessons learned, and for reporting to senior management. 
Reviewing the project – it may make sense to to reviews at various points in the project – not necessarily at the end. 
Tips for developing soft skills: meetings to review points in private so people feel free to be open and honest; invite internal speakers to discuss what is going on in other departments – helps give people context and get to know others in various departments. 

Hiring a Project Manager – What to look for when hiring a PM?

1. In resumes: Objective: look for desire to engage in “project management” – not just “management”;
2. Postion tenure: it often takes a long time to complile a list of accomplishments – beware of short tenures.
3. Metrics: what kind of metrics did they achieve? save money, reduce staff, etc.
4. Engagement vs. Oversight: how involved was the candidate in their projects?
5. Writing Style: the resume can be an indicator of their work on the projects they manage (also ask for writing samples, get a sense of the templates they’ve used)
6. Business case: look at the application as a business case.
7. Professional Development – look for initiative by the applicant – shows passion and drive.
8. Consider internal applicants because they have insight in the firm; but external applicants bring frest ideas and insights.
9. Interviews: individual meeting followed by a panel and others. 

I couldn’t stay for Career Path for a PM or Value of PM in the organization

Where to get more information: PMBOK – project management body of knowledge; ILTA PM members; Book: Project Management Jumpstart; seek out mentors; PMI

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management & Technology for Lawyers and Law Firms