Being the Project Manager

Last year, you were a “Litigation Technology Specialist” … this year, you have a new job and you are an “E-Discovery Project Manager.” Your old job required you to rely heavily upon your technology expertise and your experience with litigation database management. You are now at a new firm leading a team of technology experts. You must resist the urge to jump in and take over their technology tasks and focus on your role as the project manager. This idea was described very well on the Project Management Institute’s blog this week:

Many project managers work in two common extremes: process focus or technical detail focus. This is common for junior project managers and for project managers who are new to an organization. That often happens, in my opinion, because those project managers haven’t developed their management style yet or haven’t adjusted to the organizational culture.

When the project manager thinks something is going wrong on a project, either with how someone is performing a task or the results of a deliverable, we often try to fix it. We do that with our strongest toolkit — usually, that’s our technical background. We often take over and hijack the task just to do it “our way,” based on our experience.

Your vast knowledge of litigation technology and your understanding of the e-discovery workflow your project sponsors wish to implement is why you are the project manager.  You have big picture perspective. Focus on the project deliverables. Be clear in your management approach to managing the available resources. Try to remember what it was like last year when you were one of them…