Archive for the ‘Project Management’ Category

Creating a business critical intranet for your organization is a difficult task.  Like any project, there are many ways an intranet project can go awry.  In2009, the Standish Group reported that the failure or near failure of IT projects is almost certain in a high percentage of those projects:

The Standish Group’s just-released report, “CHAOS Summary 2009,” “This year’s results show a marked decrease in project success rates, with 32% of all projects succeeding which are delivered on time, on budget, with required features and functions” says Jim Johnson, chairman of The Standish Group, “44% were challenged which are late, over budget, and/or with less than the required features and functions and 24% failed which are cancelled prior to completion or delivered and never used.”

If we apply these statistics to intranet projects, the success seems dim at best.

With a nod to the Discovery channel’ s MythBusters, Bill Albert writes about busting myths often held in regards to online usability testing in his 4/9/2010 article, Debunking the Myths of Online Usability Testing in the Johnny Holland Magazine.  His focus of the article is online usability testing rather than the usability testing that can be done in person with one or more users but much of the content could be directed at either.

Usability testing goes hand in hand with user research or the needs analysis that must be done to create an intranet that meets the needs of the firm.  James Robertson writes about user research in his 2005 Step Two Designs article, Conducting intranet needs analysis.  While a bit dated in Internet time, it is still right on point about user research.

Law Firm Intranet Success Specifically

For more information on user research and usability testing for law firms, read a sample of the report, Creating a Successful Law Firm Intranet, written by us (Nina Platt, Laurie Southerton and Amy Witt) based on our experience in working with law firm intranets and published by the Ark Group.  The sample includes the Table of Contents, Executive Summary, Chapter 4: Research – Critical for Success, and the case study, Chapter 4: Research for Firm’s Intranet Design.


Project management in law firms is becoming more and more prominent. As well it should, given the good it can do for keeping projects on track, on time, and within scope. If you haven’t already started using some project management principles with your intranet (or whatever other thing you’re working on), a good place to find helpful tips and templates is Once you register for an account, you’ll have access to a wealth of PM information. Sign up for the gantthead lite e-newsletter and you get articles delivered right to your inbox, such as a recent one called How to Ruin Your Project.  In it, the author talks about the bad decisions that can cause a project to fail, such as failing to learn from mistakes and inconsistent communication. Not only do the articles have a common sense approach, the entire website is meant to be a community of resources for project managers everywhere. Check it out!

~ Amy Witt

Lately I’ve come across more and more articles about project management offices (PMOs) and how/why you should create one. This is something I think can provide real benefits to an organization if done properly, but isn’t as popular within law firms. Two of my favorite project management website resources, TechRepublic and gantthead, have recently posted some great articles that you might find useful if you’re interested in the topic of PMOs, or considering how to start a PMO at your organization. (And yes, law firms CAN successfully launch and work within a PMO.) 

What I like most about these articles is the lack of sugar-coating. I’ll do some paraphrasing here: Starting a PMO is hard, it will add layers of complexity, you might have difficulty getting buy-in, if done wrong it can really hinder your projects, and you’ll be forced to classify and prioritize EVERYTHING. However, the articles also mention the benefits of consistency and approval processes, and both offer some steps to get there, or at least to help you figure out if your organization is ready to start down that PMO road.  Check them out, I’m convinced they will give you insight!

See also my previous post on “What’s a PMO and why does it matter to my intranet?

~ Amy Witt

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