Ever felt that the whole ‘Agile’ thing was just for techies? Like it’s something that just doesn’t fit into the world of law — where firm agreements and predictable rules apply — ?
The world has become too fluid for fixed working methods, which is why so many businesses operate in an Agile way now — and not only software development companies. Then again, so much has been written about ‘Agile’ as a methodology; to the point that it might seem overly complicated and hard to implement. But I’d say this is just perceived complexity. In fact, Agile fits pretty well with a lawyer’s intuitive way of working.
Say a client presents a difficult case to you; you’ll probably have a fairly good idea of the client’s objective — be it win damages from the other party or close a multi-million purchase deal. But how often do you know exactly how you’ll help the client reach that objective?
Sure, you’ll have a game plan, but along the way you’ll inevitably have to revise your strategy and re-evaluate the best way to reach the customer’s need — simply because you must adapt to the changing world around you — whether it’s the counter-party’s latest move, new findings during the due diligence process or the unexpected testimony of your own expert witness.
Traditional project management tools and planning tools, which rely heavily on up-front planning, are not suitable for these kinds of situations. This is where Agile techniques come in handy and of course agile project management tools as well. Why? Because Agile means constant self-evaluation and being hyper-adaptable to change; allowing you and your team to continuously identify and improve on every process step you take. Agile encourages communication and collaboration within the team and with clients.
So I’d say: Give Agile a try, and you’ll be surprised how natural it comes for you as a lawyer. Working Agile will not only speed up your work, but it will also make sure that your client’s main goals stay in focus, and that you’re working in the most efficient way to reach them. Making both you and your clients happy.