I have updated my self-assessment questionnaire about legal project management skills. It is free to download here.
The main purpose of the questionnaire is to get individuals and teams thinking critically about their legal project management skills. The questionnaire should also be of value to those responsible for planning and managing training in law firms. Identifying gaps in legal project management competence (and, by implication, delivery capability) should help when planning future training.
The first two parts of the questionnaire are made up of self-assessment tables. Users can grade themselves from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) in a range of project management competencies.
Users must also provide a short summary of evidence backing up their self-assessment. This can work both ways. Users can provide evidence of a job well done or, alternatively, the evidence box can be used to explain why they believe they have not done as well as they may have hoped.
The third section consists of a development plan.
Section 1: Delivery competencies
This covers what might be considered core technical activities of all successful projects, including legal projects (ie management of matters). Hence in this section users can assess their competence in areas such as scoping, estimation and risk management.
Section 2: Interpersonal competencies
Firms which have started to implement legal project management usually report that client communication is the first area to improve noticeably as a result. So of course client communication is referenced here, as is intra team communications. Other competencies referred to include leadership, teamwork and task delegation.
Section 3: Development Plan
The third section is a short development plan. In fact, I have simply copied the main table from the development plan template on the website of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). All solicitors must now keep a record of their overall competence to practice (which includes competence in core project management skills) and maintain their own development plan. Apart from being the easiest and most convenient thing to do, I copied in the SRA table because I like it. It is succinct, easy to follow and, most importantly, helps users focus on desired outcomes.
Although I have copied in the SRA’s template, the questionnaire should be of interest to all those involved in legal service delivery activity, not just solicitors and trainees. Knowledge Management staff, paralegals and (especially) legal project managers should also find the questionnaire relevant to their daily work.
I keep the questionnaire under review and revise it from time to time. If you have any suggestions for improving its use and value, please do let me know.