I’m probably most often thought of as a legal project management guy. Which makes sense since I’ve named my business after my preferred project management toolset.
But for most of the teams I work with, project management turns out to be a relatively small part of the job. Why? Well, for one thing it may not be their primary bottleneck at the moment (although there are solid Lean and Agile techniques to help determine what that bottleneck is and help understand how to fix it).
More often it is because using project management is a Strategy, and specific project management efforts are Tactics, and Strategies and Tactics are of only limited utility unless they are expressed within the context of the team's Mission and Goals.
I refer to these four areas as “Domains of Activity,” and if you’re going to make any sort of progress with your enterprise (yes, your law practice, but really any human enterprise), you have to understand what they are and how they relate to each other.
I draw them like this:
Down the left side of the drawing I’ve put chains. That’s because the Goals have to hang from the Mission, the Strategies have to hang from the Goals, and the Tactics have to hang from the Strategies.
Up the right side I’ve put pillars. That’s because the Tactics have to support the Strategies, the Strategies have to support the Goals, and the Goals have to support the Mission.
When an organization isn’t making progress, or when progress is haphazard, at least 25% of the time it is because the organization itself (and especially its leadership) is unclear about how the things they are doing in one domain relates to the things they are trying to accomplish in the other domains.
The other 75% of the time? It’s because they failing to consider at least one of the domains altogether.
This is especially true at the enterprise level. Your law firm—or the company you work for, or the company you run—ought to have a Mission, needs to have Goals, better have at least one Strategy, and almost certainly is engaged in some Tactics (I don’t have to worry about Tactics—that seems to be where many people are most active).
It works on more granular levels too. Your practice group? Your in-house legal team? The matter you’re working on? If it is going to run well, you need to be considering all of the domains. What’s more, you should also understand how your granular set of answers relates back to the primary domains for your enterprise (or your client).
With this series of posts I’ll examine each of the domains in-turn, I’ll offer some tips for how to craft and express your thinking for each, and I’ll talk about how they relate to each other (and what to do if they don’t).
If there’s anything in particular you’d like to see, or questions you’d like me to answer, please don’t hesitate to reach out while I’m working on the posts themselves.
Or, if you’d like my help getting your domains in order (this is one of those things where an outside perspective can really help crystallize your thinking), please don’t hesitate to start a conversation with me.
Continue on to: MGST Part 2: Articulating your Mission.