SECRET TO SUCCESS:
KEEP IT SIMPLE, MAKE IT EASY
Don’t force it: Some law departments find certain aspects of Lean, whether process
mapping or voice of the client, to be more valuable than others — and their use can
vary significantly from client to client and situation to situation. There isn’t much point
to forcing an inflexible process onto an organization or a department simply to reach a
better process. The principles of Lean can be adjusted to meet your needs.
Solve the right problem: Process improvement methodologies can be trickier to
impose on legal issues than those in other disciplines in part because of the difficulty
in defining the actual problem lawyers are trying to solve — unless it’s simply the
generic problem of delivering legal work that meets the needs of the client with greater
predictability and transparency. Process improvement teams might need to look at
problems holistically with a sense of flexibility.
Find your facilitator first: In building the team, there is tremendous value in
identifying a skilled facilitator or leader who is able to take the rest of the group
through the various components of process improvement, particularly process mapping.
This person does not need to be a subject-matter expert, necessarily.
It’s a team, not a committee: The team then needs no
more than about four to six key people who touch the process, who are the
subject-matter experts, and who will work collaboratively regardless of their
department, title, or position in the organization. This should include the voices of
people such as administrative staff members who do much of the basic work and who
can help provide a reality check and make sure false assumptions are not being made
about steps in the process.