eDiscovery Daily Blog

eDiscovery Project Management: Effectively Manage Your Staff


An important part of managing a project is effectively managing the people doing the work and keeping them motivated.  This is especially critical when you need a lot of people for a task – for example, a document review project.  One weak link can result in poor work that needs to be redone.

Volumes have been written on this topic, and it may be worthwhile to do some reading on management skills.  However, let me give you a few suggestions that have worked well for me:

  • Know your people and make assignments that are in sync with their skills, strengths and preferences.  You will always get better results if you give people work at which they are likely to shine.
  • Get people on board with the assignment.  Make sure they understand the bigger picture, where their work fits in, and why it’s important to the case.
  • Give people clear instructions and good training.
  • Be available to them.  Make sure your staff knows how to reach you.
  • Regardless of what you are faced with, stay calm.  Panic on your part will instill panic in those doing work for you.  This never works out well.
  • Ask for input, suggestions and opinions.  This has two benefits:  you are likely to get good ideas that you’ll want to implement, and your staff will feel appreciated.
  • Don’t micro-manage your staff.  Monitor them enough to catch problems, but give them room to do their jobs.
  • Give lots of feedback.  Make sure people know when they are doing a good job, and make sure they know when you want them to change the way they are doing something.
  • Recognize and acknowledge good work.  When someone does a good job on a project that I’m managing, I write a thank you memo.  I describe the assignment, what they did, and how their efforts contributed to the overall goals and success of the project.  And I always copy senior people on that memo.  I have yet to find a better way to keep morale high for people doing good work.

What do you think?  Do you have some tips for managing people that you can share with us?  Please share any comments you might have or tell us if you’d like to know more about a topic.