eDiscovery Project Managers (PMs) work in an environment where “I’m on vacation,” “It’s Christmas,” or “I just woke up after open-heart surgery” are rarely suitable reasons to tell a client no.
With tight budgets and even tighter production schedules, even the most experienced PMs sometimes finish their workdays fatigued or frustrated. While I really do love my job as an eDiscovery Project Manager, I'm not immune to occasional on-the-job frustrations. Below are five common struggles PMs face, and a solution that has made my life easier.
1. Scrambling to Provide Clients with Status Updates
Project status updates are mission-critical for every PM. They provide a wealth of information to help both client and the PM make informed decisions about the best and most expedient ways to proceed. But they’re also the source of a wide variety of grievances. Commonly, these complaints stem from the amount of time it takes to compile a project status report. Challenging factors include:
- Amount of data requested
- Specificity of the request
- Type of document review software being utilized
Even the best clients occasionally demand unreasonably quick replies, updates outside of normal business hours, or multiple updates over a short period of time.
2. Constantly Monitoring Document Review Progress
“Why isn’t it easier to keep track of document review progress?” It’s a common question I hear from PMs in the industry and clients. Project managers must remain relentlessly attentive to document review progress to properly:
- Manage workflows and keep reviewers productive
- Track “hot” and potentially privileged documents (critical indicator of how much additional work needs to be done after the first pass review)
- Maintain budget efficiency
Monitoring this progress takes time. But how much monitoring is too much? What’s the best way to streamline workflows? A failure to answer these questions quickly can result in lost hours and ballooning costs that will sideline a project and wreck the client’s budget.
3. Juggling Multiple Projects and Vendors
Juggling multiple concurrent eDiscovery document review projects is a necessity for most PMs. The projects are often for different clients, in various stages of completion, with different production dates, using different issue codes, and employing different document review teams.
What’s more, project managers must often work with different third-party vendors and in a variety of document review platforms.
Some of those projects may be billed hourly while others are billed by the document. A PM with five projects may have to log in to five different review platforms just to get a snapshot of what’s happening in each matter. The sheer number of variables at play can make managing all those projects a daunting task.
4. Staffing and Managing Document Reviewers
A project manager without a good document review team is like a captain without a ship. But with the volume of daily tasks a PM is expected to accomplish, how can they be sure they’re hiring and keeping the best and brightest document reviewers for each project?
- Who is the fastest reviewer?
- The most experienced?
- The most accurate?
- How does a project manager know whether reviewers are padding their billable hours?
Unfortunately, many PM’s simply don’t have the time or know-how to keep the metrics that determine whether they’re assembling their best available review team.
5. Staying Within Budget
Ah, the proverbial elephant in the room. Without proper discipline and communication, the budget can become a contentious point between PMs, clients, and document reviewers. And depending on the processes (or lack thereof) put in place by the client and eDiscovery provider, tracking expenses against a client’s budget can be challenging. Unless you have a roster of phenomenally rich and fiscally irresponsible clients, you probably understand why staying within budget is one of the most frequently cited concerns of PMs.
A Solution to Consider
For too long, project managers have been stuck repeating the same inefficient reporting routines that don't add value to a project. Because of our experience managing review projects for multi-district litigation, class actions, large internal investigations, and other complex matters, we founded a separate company that has released a software reporting platform for eDiscovery document review projects.
DiscoveryMaster™, a sister company of Proteus Discovery Group, was created to track in real time:
- Budget Tracking
- Number of Documents Reviewed
- Reviewer Performance Metrics
- Production and Issue Tag Distribution
- Hot Documents
- Document Custodian Details
DiscoveryMaster provides project managers, in-house legal teams, and outside counsel an up-to-date, accurate view of metrics that matter. Project managers don’t have to spend hours compiling statistics and micromanaging reviewers, and clients get the information they need – how they want it and when they want it.
If you want to learn more, drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.