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The Lean Law Firm

 Maximizing value and minimizing waste...one blog at a time.

Monday
Oct052015

DMAIC 3 - Analyze: Why do you work the way you do?

Welcome back to our series on DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control), a structured approach to process improvement.

At this stage, you’ve identified what your client wants or needs (Define) and developed a really clear picture of your baseline or current state (Measure). You’ve spotted the wastes and identified some issues in the way you accomplish your work. Every place where you find waste, every frustration you and your team identify…each one is an opportunity for improvement. Now it’s time to analyze why you work the way you do, so you can act on those improvement opportunities.

It’s time to start asking questions.

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Wednesday
Sep232015

Less is less...is more. Why doing less work can make you a better lawyer.

It’s not often I come across posts that make me shout positive messages at my screen (more often, I feel like swearing). But twice in 10 days?

Last time it was Steven J. Harper (you can see my post about it here). This time it's Seyfarth’s Stephen Poor.

For years, we’ve been telling clients that Lean is a way to help them do more for and with less. And it is. By becoming more efficient, by improving the processes you use, you can become more productive with the same resources. More…for less. But for the last year or so, we've been talking more about doing less...

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Tuesday
Sep082015

DMAIC 2 - Measure: How do you work now to deliver results for your clients?

Welcome back to our series on DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control), a structured approach to process improvement. We started the series with a general introduction and then dove into the Define phase.

In Define, you set the boundaries of your project and identified what your client wants or needs. Today we’re moving into Measure. Now you have to determine how you currently work to get (or try to get) that result.

The goal of Measure is to determine the current state of your process. You are looking for your actual performance baseline. Not how you think you do the work or how you think you should do the work, but how it actually gets done right now.

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Friday
Sep042015

It's Labor Day Weekend - Do you know where your associates are?

I bet they’re at work. And they’re probably not very happy about it.

Have a look at Steven J. Harper’s recent post about the nature of work and our relationship with it. Steven examines Professor Barry Schwartz’s recent op-ed in the New York Times about job satisfaction. I’m not going to rehash the whole thing. Steven does a fantastic job of summarizing the article and applying it to our profession. The bottom line: keeping associates satisfied and engaged takes more than money.

What does it take?

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Tuesday
Aug182015

DMAIC 1 - Define: What Does Your Client Want?

Last week, we introduced you to DMAIC, a five-step approach to process improvement.

We like to think about DMAIC this way:

Define:    what does the client want or need?
Measure: how do we work now to get that result?
Analyze:  why do we do it that way?
Improve: how can we do it better?
Control:   is our new process delivering what the client wants and are we following it?

It’s an approach that starts and ends with what the client wants. Why? Because to be truly efficient and effective, you must deliver value. And that value is defined by the client.

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