E-Discovery Procurement

Published: 2021-07-23 12:20:04
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Category: Outsourcing, Contract, Discovery

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Table of Contents Assignment #1: e-Discovery Project Procurement Management2 Introduction2 Plan e-Discovery Procurements3 Conduct e-Discovery Procurements5 Administer e-Discovery Procurements6 Close e-Discovery Procurements8 Conclusion9 References10 Assignment #1: e-Discovery Project Procurement Management Introduction Most projects of whichever size or significance cannot be completed using 100% in-sourced resources. But Project managers must still procure their project’s resources that are not obtained in-house, and that must be done through outsourcing.
To that end, the project procurement process “tries to maximize the value derived from all funds invested in the project to obtain goods and services. This occurs by reducing the cost and using more effectively and efficiently whatever is obtained” (Rapp, 2011, pp. Kindle 2974-2975). Seasoned project managers know that the deceptively humdrum aspects of procurement can be a greater source of pain for a project’s quality, recovery schedule and budget if they are not given their due recognition and attention.
New project managers need to realize that at the core of their success stands, among other things, great management of their project’s procurements and precise logistics, which is essential to success. Therefore, procurement success begins with planning procurements, conducting procurements, administering procurements and closing procurements. The procurement process “includes the processes necessary to purchase or acquire products, services, or results needed from outside the project team” (PMI, 2011, pp. Kindle 5723-5724).



This paper will discuss the procurement process that could have been applied to a law firm matter for which e-Discovery services had to be outsourced. According to the EDRM (2013)E-Discovery is the management of electronically stored information (ESI) to mitigate risk and expenses during the discovery phase of a matter and though it is not always a full blown legal case , it could evolve into that. The law firm had a client who had a desire to review for relevance hundreds of thousands of documents on a hard drive which held a collection of data from client servers.
As project manager of the e-Discovery part of this matter, I was tasked with managing that procurement from inception to closure and the inter-organizational relationships thereof. Plan e-Discovery Procurements For the procurement inputs, we must first document any and all decisions and legal requirements that the appropriate stakeholders or legal entities have made regarding the outsourcing of materials, services, and results expected and acceptable in a legal matter.
In an e-Discovery project, this would require the use of and input from the following according to the PMBOK Guide (2011): Scope Baseline Requirements Documentation Teaming agreements Risk register Risk related contract decisions Activity resource requirements Project schedule Activity cost estimate Cost performance baseline Enterprise Environmental Factors Thus, the circumstances and technical reasons that preclude us from in-house e-Discovery can be determined utilizing make-or buy analysis and expert judgment.
We would show what we need in order to execute outsourced e-Discovery, and the boundaries within which we must control an outsourced deliverable by using the scope baseline, WBS including jargon definitions for lay stakeholders. Also, the PM would document the level of service that is required to achieve the client’s goals with relation to the legal matter and apply planned value, earned value and actual cost analyses for estimates. Next, all contracts between the firm, the client, the e-Discovery seller and any other parties including the contract types - hether fixed-price, cost-reimbursable, time & material, or some hybrid should be codified. If this is a matter where the government is represented, it is likely that an agreement would disqualify the use of some types of contracts, specifically cost plus percentage of cost contract types. Commercial matters may or may not have the same restrictions. With the preceding inputs the PM can then identify and document risks, risk owners and risk responses at all e-Discovery stages and include all project contributors.
Identify and record all contract decisions that could present risks or opportunities during the execution of the contracts and parties that are responsible for those risk responses specific to each contract. Confirm positive market conditions, rate comparisons and local regulatory requirements. The plan began by “determining which project needs can be fulfilled internally by the project team and which can best be met externally (Marchewka, 2012, p. 382). The project team made decisions about when, how, what quantities and what sources would sustain the insourced and outsourced tasks.
With this information and the results of the plan inputs, tools and techniques, either a detailed or a broadly organized project procurement management plan that includes guidance for procurements from inception to closure. The documentation would comprise the e-Discovery procurement statement of work identifying where documents should be collected, and from which custodians. Where documents should be sent for processing, processing specifications and options, document review requirements and rules, categorization specifications, production format agreements and production deadlines.
Included would be the documentation for any make or buy analyses and peripheral procurement documents like proposals, bids and technical documentation. And finally, the plan will include the final source selection criteria utilized to rate and select the e-Discovery seller would be documented as well. With the attainment of this procurement management plan depicting activities from creating procurement documents through contract closure and accepted by the stakeholders, the PM can commence with conducting procurements. Conduct e-Discovery Procurements
Now that the project procurement plan has been hashed out, the RFP has been sent out, bids have been received and analyzed (this process is often repeated until a select pool is attained), the PM can focus on awarding a contract to the seller that best fits the needs of the legal matter and the e-Discovery requirements according to the plan documentation and some tools and techniques. Utilizing the following inputs, that selection will be made to engage a seller according to the PMBOK Guide (2011): Project management plan Procurement documents Source selection criteria Qualified seller list Seller proposals Project documents
Make-or-buy decisions Teaming agreements Organizational process assets The PM will utilize the above inputs to describe and codify the e-Discovery project procurement process from inception to closure. The objective is to obtain a sensible range of possible high quality proposals in order to achieve the e-discovery goals of this matter. The project documents help to build a solid selection criteria such as a weighted system, which through past experience will be based on the PM’s expert judgment about seller criteria, independent estimates and bidder conferences to further narrow down the most qualified of sellers.
When it is necessary to extend the pool of bidders, some can be obtained through advertisements in industry publications and with organizational process assets such as preferred vendors and partnering agreements. For e-Discovery, it is not likely that a random internet search would suffice to identify sellers as this is a very specialized field. Through proposal evaluation techniques that have been approved by management, the selection criteria will evolve. The details of the sellers’ proposals will have everything that the PM needs to make a fair weighted selection.
Matching the requirements to the project documentation will ensure that the PM is staying within the bounds of the project requirements and the risk register. The use of the make-or-buy decisions will determine whether portion of the project should be insourced or should remain part of a teeming agreement. Organizational process assets will identify other sellers that qualified for previous projects as well as documented best practices and lessons learned from previous project whether they were successful or failed.
The result of conducting procurement is a selected seller which is typically approved by management and other critical stakeholders if necessary. The contract, with the structure that was approved “defines the terms and conditions or such things as responsibilities and authorities, technical and project management approaches, proprietary rights, financing, schedule, payments, quality requirements, and price, as well as remedies and process for revisions to the contract” (Marchewka, 2012, p. 83), is signed sealed and delivered. For an e-Discovery project, the contract can also contain the agreed upon project calendar and resource calendars that depict court dates and deadlines, change request procedures with integrated change control measures. Finally, the updates to the project management plan and project documents are executed including the baselines and the risk register. With the project updates complete, the PM can now administer procurements. Administer e-Discovery Procurements
Now that the project documents are updated the seller and the buyer are in a relationship guided by the contract, the client expectations have been set, resources have been affiliated with the project scope and the stage is set to execute the project deliverables. Each party, buyer and seller must accomplish their obligations at a high level of quality according to the Ts & Cs of the contract. Rules are created to manage changes to the contract, procurements are reviewed on a scheduled basis, reports with the results of inspections and audits to show the effectiveness of the process.
Functional structures such as payment systems, claims administration and records management are set up. The inputs toward these activities according to the PMBOK Guide (2011) include: Procurement documents Project management plan Contract Performance reports Approved change requests Work performance information * The PM will utilize the inputs to create the final procurement documentation. In an e-Discovery project the “contract documentation allows people who did not participate in forming the contract to carry out the agreement made by the people who did” (Garrett, 2010, p. 6). It will contain the collection activities during discovery, the chain of custody for the hard drive or other media containing data, the processing specifications, any de-duplication issues and the exception report showing which documents could not be processed and suggestions for addressing any that are of interest to the client. The contract documentation will contain details about the document review, and “modifications, invoices, meeting notes, payments, and correspondence” (Garrett, 2010, p. 8), as well as technical facts from the seller about the deliverables. Also, the PM will update the organizational process assets, such as “assumptions about present or future company assets that can impact the success of the project such as the capability of your enterprise project management methodology, the project management information system, forms, templates, guidelines, checklists, and the ability to capture and use lessons learned data and best practices” (Kerzner, 2009, pp. Kindle 9889-9891).
In an e-Discovery project, this is very critical because the industry is always growing and changing. Finally, change requests are processed for review and action and then the project management plan is updated as the final output. With the administration of procurements complete, the project plan updated, and the document review and final production complete, now the PM can close procurements. Close e-Discovery Procurements Closing procurements involves the “process of verifying that all administrative matters are concluded on a contract that is otherwise physically complete.
This involves completing and settling the contract, including resolving any open items” (Kerzner, 2009, pp. Kindle 18292-18293). The PM will commence with closing the procurement with the following inputs according to the PMBOK Guide (2011): Project management plan Procurement documentation Fleming (2003) recommends that it is a best practice to ensure that the seller has completed all of the tasks, terms and conditions of the SOW and contract unless the circumstances dictate otherwise as “there are often residual issues which must be addressed” (Fleming, 2003, p. 27). Ultimately, with these issues resolved, the PM will use the inputs to conduct procurement audits to identify and document the good, bad and ugly achievements and disappointments in performance of the contract. The PM can also explore and execute any negotiated settlements of open items to avoid litigation, however sometimes litigation is unavoidable, though not wanted. Finally, the records management system must be updated with the above tools and techniques outcomes.
The e-Discovery project is closed when the PM closes procurements and thusly notifies all appropriate stakeholders that the contract has been completed and details any spin-off actions that might apply. The procurement file, derivable acceptance and lessons learned documentation should all be updated, finalized and executed accordingly so that the entire contract process can be written in stone for future reference or projects. Conclusion
Most e-Discovery projects of varying scope will not be completely in-sourced so they require some level of outsourcing or procurement. According to the PMBOK Guide (2011, p. 313), procurement success begins with planning procurements, conducting procurements, administering procurements and closing procurements and these steps may intermingle, may require multiple discrete or ongoing efforts and individuals or teams to complete. The PM must initially plan the procurements using the inputs tools and techniques as a basis for the conducting procurement.
Next, the PM should conduct procurements using the inputs, tools and techniques as basis for administering procurements successfully while all along documenting the outputs and updates. Third, the PM must administer the procurements using the inputs, tools and techniques as a basis for closing the procurement while updating documentation and resolving buyer and seller differences along the way. Finally, the PM will close procurements and wrap up any lose ends with the ultimate goal of project success and notification to all parties that the procurement is closed.
The procurement plan will make it a simple exercise for all of the stakeholders whether they were involved in the procurement or not to know the status of the procurement throughout the outsourcing lifecycle. References EDRM. (2013). The Electronic Discovery Reference Model: Establishing guidelines. Setting standards. Delivering resources. Retrieved from edrm. net: http://www. edrm. net/resources/edrm-stages-explained Fleming, Q. W. (2003). Project Procurement Management Contracting, Subcontracting, Teaming. Tustin, CA: FMC Press.
Garrett, G. A. (2010). World Class Contracting (5th Kindle Edition ed. ). (W. K. Legal, Ed. ) Aspen PUblishers. Kerzner, H. (2009). Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. Wiley. Marchewka, J. T. (2012). Information technology project management with CD-ROM. (4th). Wiley. PMI. (2011, Jan 01). A guide to project management body of knowledge. (4th). Project Management Institute. Rapp, R. R. (2011). Disaster Recovery Project Management: Brining Order from Chaos (Kindle Edition ed. ). BookMasters.

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