Law department activities as priorities, programs, projects and practices – Part III, projects

Projects are a third level of activities in law departments, defined primarily by their being one-off significant activities (See my post of Nov. 19, 2008: priorities; and Nov. 19, 2008: programs.).

Project examples of projects include relocation of the law department and the choice of a matter management system. Other one-time projects would be build-outs of new space, installation of filing cabinets, or selecting a consult to conduct a review.

Projects raise a number of considerations.

Often projects involve an external consultant or someone with expertise from within the company. Members of the law department have not done what needs to be done and they seek guidance.

People can be passive-aggressive about projects (See my post of Jan. 17, 2006 on passive-aggressive behavior.). In public they applaud; in private they disregard.

Projects are frequently discretionary and have to gain budget approval.

You often need to show return on investment to fund a project, unlike a program.

A project starts and finishes (usually); programs just keep on running.

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