Legal Operations » A Project Management Primer for Legal Ops

A Project Management Primer for Legal Ops

May 18, 2023


Project management focuses on planning and organizing projects that address organizational changes and can range from integrating new technology to streamlining business processes. Susanne Madsen, internationally recognized project leadership coach, discusses the three most fundamental project management elements and tools. This is a must-read primer for legal ops professionals whether you are experienced in project management or at an entry level. First, you will need to define your project. This requires developing a high-level description of the project, which can then be captured in a Project Definition Document that includes the aims and objectives of the  project, deliverables, assumptions, constraints, expected costs and end date, project sponsor, project manager and core team members. 

Second, plan the project. Planning lays out the project phases, stages, and milestones. If you use a traditional waterfall methodology, you’ll plan the project sequentially with the deliverables at the end of the project. If you use agile methodology, you’d plan the project in much shorter iterations, with deliverables after each one. Third, control the risk. Risk control activities need to be carried out on a regular basis to make sure that new risks are identified and managed and that existing ones are reviewed. Identifying risks is a collaborative process, with the outcome a Risk List in Excel. It should list and describe all the risks, the date they were logged, the potential impact of each risk and how it can be mitigated.

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