In Brief

Checklist: Step-by-Step Project Management for Legal Operations

November 30, 2022
Checklist: Step-by-Step Project Management for Legal Operations

[This document is part of a series focused on project management for legal operations. Bloomberg Law subscribers can access our full series of Practical Guidance on project management for legal operations. Not a subscriber? Request a demo.]

Law firms and legal departments likely engage in project management more than they realize. Whether they are implementing a new technological solution, launching new internal processes, or developing new organizational practices, all of these involve elements of project management. When engaged in activities like these, organizations stand to benefit from utilizing a more formal approach, as it can streamline the process and ensure that nothing slips through

Step 1: Determine project needs

  • Identify relevant stakeholders.
  • Determine general timelines, budget, project objectives, and project scope with stakeholders.
  • Memorialize this information as an initial set of requirements.

Step 2: Build the project team and roles

  • Determine what roles are needed on the project (i.e. project manager, analyst).
  • Select team members with knowledge and experience relevant to the project and roles.
  • Assign team members roles based on their skills.

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Step 3: Gather formal project requirements

  • Assign requirements gathering to the appropriate team member(s).
  • Meet with stakeholders to outline the requirements for the project.
  • Set up a meeting with stakeholders to discuss any conflicting requirements.
  • Finalize requirements and review with stakeholders to ensure understanding.
  • Document all requirements in a repository.
  • Develop and formalize success criteria through which the project will be evaluated.

Step 4: Develop project charter and plan

When drafting the project charter, work with stakeholders to:

  • Identify and document all stakeholders.
  • Formalize and document the goals, scope, and budget of the project.
  • Draft the charter with all relevant information, timelines, and stakeholders.
  • Review the charter with stakeholders and finalize.

When drafting the project plan, work with stakeholders to:

  • Document objectives, scope, timelines, schedule, and deliverables/outcomes.
  • Document each role and stakeholder in the project.
  • Identify and document project risks and dependencies.
  • Review the plan with stakeholders and finalize.

Step 5: Develop the communication and change management plans

  • Determine objectives for the plans.
  • Determine the audience for each communication or activity.
  • Determine the information that will be communicated to each audience.
  • Set up a communication or activity cadence.
  • Select the medium of communication, if applicable.
  • Create an official timeline of when communications and/or activities should be executed.

Step 6: Develop the product or process

  • Determine the design elements that the project team will handle.
  • Review requirements and develop specifications for the design.
  • Review the product or process with stakeholders and finalize.

Step 7: Develop the training plan

  • Determine the changes that the project will represent for the organization.
  • Determine the best training methods and materials to use.
  • Design training courses and materials.
  • Create schedule and timeline of training activities.
  • Review the training plan with stakeholders and finalize.

Step 8: Execute the project

  • Execute the communication plan.
  • Execute the change management plan.
  • Execute training activities.
  • Launch the product or process.
  • Meet with the organization to provide more information and training as needed.

Step 9: Monitor the project

  • Meet with users and get their feedback on the project.
  • Measure success of the process or product using success metrics.
  • Make changes to the project to account for any deficiencies.

Step 10: Close out the project

  • Create a project report containing lessons learned and presenting findings to stakeholders.
  • Perform due diligence activities.
  • Ensure that all requirements were met.
  • Transition responsibilities to permanent roles in the organization.