Anybody remember the old board game “Clue”? It’s been around so long, even I played it as a kid. Yesterday, I started discussing stakeholders in a typical eDiscovery project by using the board game “Clue” to illustrate those various potential stakeholders. I discussed the first three stakeholders yesterday, here are the remaining three.
Again, pay no attention to the gender of each “character” as each stakeholder type could be any gender. And, as you can see by the graphics in this post, I prefer the “old school” version of the game!
eDiscovery Software Provider
Biggest Motivators: Selling Software and/or Hosting, Understanding Client Needs to Deliver Better Products
How to Make Him/Her Happy: Provide Constructive Feedback on Product Features, Participate Actively in Software Training, Treat as a Partner (Not as a Vendor)
Which “Clue” character fits best here?
Mrs. Peacock! Mrs. Peacock prides herself on her appearance and an intuitive UI (without, of course, “putting lipstick on a pig”) and she (or he) wants to know what you need from her to make her product better. She also wants for you to attend the software training she is willing to provide and actually pay attention during the training, or you could miss important information about how to use the product effectively. While I have represented the LSP and the eDiscovery software provider as separate people, they can often be the same person (or at least from the same organization). Regardless, there are services that accompany any software platform (such as training, support and product management) and Mrs. Peacock also wants to work with you as a partner to make sure you get the most out of the product.
By the way, I’ve never liked the term “vendor”, but many will refer to companies that provide eDiscovery software and services as “vendors”. To me, a “vendor” is someone who sells hot dogs on the street corner – they’re an order taker and you go up to them and you simply place your order. Conversely, a waiter or waitress at a fine restaurant is more consultative – they’ll tell you what the specials are and help you decide what wine to pair with your food. Regardless, whether the client refers to you as a “vendor” or not, you want to be a “provider” and be more consultative with your client, not an order taker who simply follows orders.
Biggest Motivators: Improving Processes, Getting Attorneys to Embrace Technology
How to Make Him/Her Happy: Be Willing to Embrace the Use of Technology to Improve Processes
So, who to use here?
Of course, that’s going to be Professor Plum! Professor Plum thinks he (or she) is smarter than we are (and he or she is probably right, at least in some areas). He (or she) has unique skills that can add value in specific instances. Examples of people in our industry who fit that bill are people like Craig Ball with forensics and collections and Maura Grossman with Technology Assisted Review – they are excellent examples of somebody that has the skills to provide unique advice and guidance that few can offer in that field, and even serve as a Special Master to assist the court in that regard. You may not need Professor Plum on every project, but it’s nice to be able to rely on that expertise when you do, so you want to keep an open mind and embrace the use of technology to improve processes and workflows.
Biggest Motivators: Completing High Quality Projects on Time and Cost-Effectively, Ensuring Smooth Flow of Communications
How to Make Him/Her Happy: Communicate Early, Often and Completely to Help Him/Her Ensure a Successful Project Completion
So, who does that leave, of course?
Last, but not least, it’s Colonel Mustard! Believe it or not, project managers need love too, and they have needs from the other stakeholders, including clear and effective communication regarding their needs and goals so that the PM can manage the effort to achieve those goals. You may not need military precision to be an effective project manager, but you do need good organizational and communications skills in working with the other stakeholders I’ve mentioned here.
There you go – six stakeholder types that you may need to work with on your eDiscovery projects, so you’ll want to understand what they need to make sure that their success is aligned with your success in managing the project.
So, what do you think? How many types of stakeholders do you typically deal with in an eDiscovery project? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.
Images Copyright © Parker Brothers
Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.