Project Management and Advocacy

I’ve observed few similarities between the Project Managers and Advocates.

Being Project Manager, law bachelor and little practical experienced as an Advocate, I noticed few similarities. I think it’s worth sharing.

Subject matter expert

An Advocate is a SME in his/her specific area. He/she can’t be master of all the laws and acts which counts to more than thousands.

Criminal lawyer accepts only criminal case and not the civil, labour or other cases. However, he can accept it but he will not be equally productive.

Same goes to Project Manager. Person who don’t understand accounting can’t manage the accounting system. Person who is a CA can’t drive Website project and so on.

Requirement gathering

Client approaches and advocate does the requirement gathering. Advocate hear the client story.

Whereas, Project Manager does the requirement gathering from users either by self or with the help of Business Analyst.

Documentation

Advocate reduces the client story to the facts.

Whereas, Project Manager reduces the user story to BRD or FSD.

Solutioning

Advocate identify the relevant law and sections based on the facts. Section tells what are the valid requirements in order to file/defend the case and ensure the victory. Valid requirements includes the supporting evidence that support the facts.

Whereas, Product Project Manager does the requirement mapping with the existing Product either self or with the help of Product SME.

Development Project Manager identifies the technology stack by considering the pros & cons either self or with the help of Solution Architect or Technology SME.

Kick start

Advocate files the case.

Whereas, Project Manager kick start the Project.

Planning

Advocate makes strategy of the case hearings.

Whereas, Project Manager makes the Project Plan in consultation with internal and external stake-holders.

Execution & Reporting

Regular follow-ups are made by Advocate with client, court and other parties. This in legal terms is known as hearing. This is so important that not a single hearing / date to be missed without valid justification.

In criminal cases, court can issue or Defending/Prosecution Lawyer as the case may be demand Warrant of arrest, penalties or ex-parte hearing. This also has reciprocal impact on the final decision.

Advocate keep the client informed on the developments of the case. He/she also regularly informs the client about the associates Risk, Assumption and Dependency identified and associated with the case.

Record of each date, development on each date, next date, stage of the next date, known Risk, Assumption and Dependency along with the case related documents are properly maintained in the form of case file and case file is preserved safely.

Whereas, Project Manager maintains Project Register either in excel or using some tool. Project Register generally has :

  1. Project Plan
  2. Project Plan deviation with Previous Plan, revised Plan, reason of the change in the plan, reference of communication sent to the stakeholders etc.
  3. TODO Tracker
  4. Minutes of meeting tracker
  5. Detailed WBS of each Milestone
  6. RAID Register.

Stakeholders are regularly informed by Project Manager on the developments in Project.

Project Register with key highlights and lowlights are circulated to all the stakeholders in the form of periodic project updates.

Milestone

A case has various stages such as Filing, Admission Hearing, Summons, Written statement by Defendant, Evidence by plaintiff, Examination in-chief, Cross examination by defendant, Evidence by defendant, Cross examination by plaintiff, Argument, Order and Judgement.

Whereas, Project has various stages also called Milestone such as Development, QA, SIT, UAT, Pilot and Go-Live.

Time Management / Review with agenda

An advocate does necessary preparation for each stage before appearing.

Each date is scheduled for specific stage and agenda. The advocates are bound to follow it. Any other agenda can be allowed by the court subject to application and permission.

The advocate has to present his case, statement and argument in line with the facts. Anything which is not in the record cannot be discussed unless court allows.

There is specific time frame alloted to each case in each stage. The advocate has to complete his/her part in the stipulated time. Now a days, courts are very serious about this and many a times the advocates are panelized for delay or wasting the courts time.

Although every advocate is appearing for his/her party for victory but he/she cannot do it in isolation. Court and opposite parties must be taken into confidence.

Whereas, Project Manager does the Project Reviews in the form of Periodic calls or meetings with specific agenda.

Sometimes, a Project Manager has to be strict to ensure the meetings are not extended due to adhoc discussions beyond agenda. People may not like it but it should be done in the interest of the Project.

I’ve heard about 2 kinds of people in one of the management training. These are Time Wasters and Time Robbers.

Time Wasters are people/situation can be avoided. They are generally your colleagues doing joking, unusual talks, unnecessary calls, unplanned meetings etc.

Time Robbers are people/situation cannot be avoided. They generally include your seniors, unplanned meetings where you are not required but dragged etc.

I’m sure now, you must have some clue about your own time robbers and time wasters. Just kidding!

Project Manager should be smart and serious enough in Time Management.

Every Project Manager works for his organisation and the Project success within the defined time, quality and cost but he can’t take arbitrary decisions in isolation. He/she needs to consult his/her counterpart and other stake-holders.

Closure

Advocates makes strategy and plan for the victory but it’s not guaranteed. It depends on the facts, evidence, argument and hard-work of the lawyer.

If the facts are true, properly framed, each fact has supporting evidence and Advocate appears for case with full preparation and makes strong argument then his/her hard work pays back and he gets Judgement in his/her favor. Every victory counts for Advocate in his career.

Same goes to Project Manager, if Project is properly planned, tracked and executed then he/she enjoys the success and Project is made LIVE. Every victory counts even for Project Manager in his career.

Conclusion

I’ve mentioned almost all the important points that a Project Manager can learn from an Advocate and he/she can follow for his own successful career and for project success.

Although there are 2 kinds of Advocates – One working actually as Advocate and anothers are just post-master cum agents who just get client and give it to other Advocate in return of commission. You will see many Advocates who hardly appear in courts.

Same goes to Project Manager. There are 2 kinds of Project Managers – One is working as Project Manager as the chief of Project and anothers are just post-masters simply passing the message.

Project Management is an art and a hobby of a good leader. This art can be developed gradually by observing what other successful people/leaders around you does. Certification and Degree can’t produce a good Project Manager. It’s the attitude, presence of mind and hard-work that makes one a good Project Manager.

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