eDiscovery Daily Blog

eDiscovery Project Management: Monitor the Work


It’s critical to know where you are on a project so you can compare your progress to your budget and schedule and make adjustments if necessary.  Sometime the unexpected will cause you to fall behind.  In some cases, you’ll be able to take steps to fix problems and get back on track.  For example, you may be able to simplify a task without sacrificing quality or the utility of the work.


Here’s an example.  I once managed a coding project that was having problems.  The rate at which the staff moved through the collection was much slower than I had estimated.  At that slower rate, the deadline was going to be missed and the costs were going to skyrocket.  I met with the staff to determine why the work was taking so much time.  We determined that there was one field of information that was causing trouble:  coders were required to record the country in which certain types of activity occurred.  It was easy enough to record “United States” when something happened in New York.  It wasn’t so easy for the staff to record “Botswana” when something happened in Ghanzi.  I spoke with an attorney about the problem.  She determined that what they really needed to know was whether an activity occurred in the US, in England, or somewhere else.  We simplified the coding rule and we were able to get back on track.  If we hadn’t been monitoring daily progress on the project, we would have faced significant schedule and budget problems.

Changing the rules might not always be an option.  Sometimes you’ll have to live with an extended schedule and higher costs.  Knowing that sooner rather than later is always better.  If you can’t adjust the rules, you can at least adjust the expectations of those for whom you are doing the work.

Put a mechanism in place for monitoring status.  Look at production rates and throughput every day and see how the numbers compare to the assumptions you made when you created your schedule and budget.   A missed deadline or unexpected costs should never be a surprise that comes at the end of a project.

What do you think?  Have you missed deadlines and exceeded budgets?  Could it have been avoided?  Please share your comments or let us know if you would like more information on a topic.