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 recognised 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 utilise 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 recognised 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 utilised 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, the dynamics of the individuals that make up the core project team – these factors all 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 – which approach is best? The answer is obvious – the one that suits your organisation 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. For expert guidance on choosing the best approach to software implementation for your firm, call on the team at Wilson Allen.

Learn more about Wilson’s advisory services, consulting services, and certified Elite and Intapp services to see how we can help streamline the implementation of software at your firm.