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Choosing the Right Methodology for Your Software Implementation

As technologies have advanced and innovation feeds the need for faster change, law firms are facing the prospect of implementing new software more frequently. This begs the question: what is the best approach to project management?

To attempt to provide some insight into this question, let’s review some of the most common frameworks, methodologies, and tools that are currently used when implementing legal software. We’ll explore the differences as well as any overlaps in terminology. These methods include:

  • Project management body of knowledge (PMBOK) is perhaps the most widely used example of a framework and covers all aspects of project management from project viability at the outset to project closure techniques and processes. PMBOK is a globally recognized point of reference for all project managers.
  • Projects in controlled environments (PRINCE2) could be described as both a methodology and a framework, however, it is prescriptive in nature and has a set structure. To utilize PRINCE2 correctly, a specific set of principles, themes, and processes need to be followed. Government bodies have embraced PRINCE2 within the UK, perhaps more than any other sector, but PRINCE2 is a widely-recognized method, particularly within the UK.
  • Agile can also be described as a framework or methodology depending on the scale to which it is employed. It can be utilized purely for the software development stages of a project or could be an enterprise-wide framework that informs many processes.

    Agile is designed to be a dynamic and efficient delivery method and is not an acronym but describes its intended approach. It adheres to a prescriptive method to allow for potentially greater efficiencies and relies less on documentation and instead emphasizes discrete, meaningful, and iterative delivery.

  • A project management tool facilitates a specific need or process and is a component of a framework or methodology. Some examples of this may be a Gantt Chart, an issue log or defect management system, a highlight report, a communications plan, or a project brief to name but a few.

Finding the Right Fit

Selecting a project methodology for its own sake can often cause more issues, particularly if the various factors involved are not suited to that approach. Client and supplier culture, stakeholder involvement and expectation, and the dynamics of the individuals that make up the core project team are all factors that point to the need for an open mind when defining which project methodology to use. Commonly, the reality is that a hybrid of methodologies is the best choice but with a grounding based on tried and tested processes and tools.

Closing Thoughts

To answer the original question of which approach is best, the answer is obvious: the one that suits your organization and the project in hand. But ultimately the framework, the tools, and the methodology alone will not guarantee success. Solid project management is dependent upon the skill and experience of the people wielding the tools.

Wilson Legal Solutions

Wilson Legal Solutions is a leading global provider of consulting services and analytics software that enables law firms and professional services organizations to improve business performance. The company supports firms throughout the lifecycle of practice management software. It is a Certified 3E Services partner with Thomson Reuters Elite and is certified to provide services for all Intapp products. Its advisory services feature globally recognized business of law consultants who enable strategic, data-driven decisions. Its Wilson Ideate software makes it easier to access, analyze, and share the data that drives profitability and performance. Click here for more information.

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