Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gilbert+Tobin Reach ILTA MCC Awards Finals

Congratulations have to be passed across to the Gilbert+Tobin e-File project team who last night made the short list of finalists for the 2008 Interwoven & Baker Robbins Matter Centric Design Awards held at the ILTA conference in Texas.

Congratulations also to entire ReedSmith team (including Janders Dean's best pals Tom Baldwin and Lisa Gianakos) for winning overall.

Open to all Interwoven MCC projects across the globe each year, a short list of less than ten finalists are selected. These firms are then allowed a five minute presentation to explain their designs, which is followed by a live judging session at the ILTA conference before the winners are announced.

After being invited to provide MCC subject matter experience and lawyer behaviour expertise to Gilbert+Tobin on this project, Janders Dean developed an original folder design for discussion and presented this to the project team where we then facilitated the design component of the project.

Janders Dean established the basis for the Gilbert+Tobin matter centric folder structure using a philosophy of absolute simplicity for go-live. Having worked on one of the largest MCC projects in history at Freshfields while with BRCo, we had seen the potential for project delays and change management issues which could be caused when a firm tried to perfect a folder design prior to go-live.

Our approach was to encourage Gilbert+Tobin to start with a simple and intuitive design, observe the behaviours and requirements of lawyers who utilised the matter centric environment and MS Outlook integration post go-live, and use this proven and factual behaviour as the basis to deliver enhancements post go-live which would be acceptable and fit with the behaviours - to continually "enhance" the user experience based on user behaviours, rather than trying to force a design onto users based on "predictions" on how lawyers worked or (far worse a scenario) how the project team may "want" them to work or think that they should be working within the new environment.

In addition to this, we encouraged the firm to learn from all other MCC projects that had gone before them (which clearly demonstrates a reduction in the number of folders pushed out at go-live over time), and to start their project by collecting and collating useful pre-MCC metrics around usability and behaviours which could be referred back to post-MCC to prove points (rather than getting drowned in anecdotal feedback).

The temptation was always there to use the advanced features of Interwoven to "wow" the lawyers with a day one design which looked sexy or forced them to behave in a certain fashion; however the project team was always steered back to the starting point of simplicity by Janders Dean.

Although Janders Dean contributed to the design and dictated the team stick to plan, all credit for the successful implementation and hence serious kudos goes to the whole eFile team of Simon Gilchrist, Judy Meek, Tracey Vitnell, Mandy Caldow, Jane Hogan and many others too numerous to name.

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