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Stop! Collaborate and Listen!

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Sandline Discovery - Ideas, Education and eDiscovery

In our opinion, the legal technology and services world is rather enjoyable. Yes, it is heavy with tight deadlines and seemingly impossible complex challenges but when it comes down to it, we have a great industry and the people we serve are both savvy and witty. Particularly enjoyable to us is being part of a team that is cohesively solving problems by shortening communication gaps with real time interaction regardless of location. In other words, collaborating!

Solving complex eDiscovery challenges is best when the whole team can tackle a problem together and, since our team is spread across the globe, we use readily available technology to gain instant access to the collective wisdom of the whole team. Below are some examples of how we accomplish this feat. As interesting as we think we are, keep in mind that we believe these technologies can also help our entire legal community and may even benefit your organization.

We serve the eDiscovery community.

I recently spoke to a remote litigation support project manager who works for a large law firm and feels like she is in her own eDiscovery silo. The greatest challenge for her is that when she has a “curve ball” of a project, she’s usually forced to solve the entire problem on her own. She told me that with team participation she thinks she could solve problems more quickly. Now, she has access to a team, but has found that getting the team assembled on short notice is rarely possible.

Whether at a law firm, a tech firm or an eDiscovery service provider, we are all solving problems with tight deadlines. Simply hitting deadlines isn’t enough though. The deliverable needs to be error-free. At Sandline, we have multiple domestic and overseas offices and remote employees who need instant communication and connection to the team. Over the years we have tested solutions and found that our sweet-spot is a combination of business tools that are readily available to keep our communication lines open.

Keep in mind, technology alone won’t give you a GREAT team. First you need a diverse group of people with unique skills ready to work in unison to execute a single mission. Once you have the right people, you need to give them the right tools to get them working as if they were in the same room. There are plenty of tools available requiring little to no investment that offer everything from email-replacing chat-based tools to video-based virtual offices. Here are some examples of technology we use that may play a part in how you improve communication in your organization.

Google Hangouts

Hangouts is Sandline’s direct communication hub. Our operations team logs on to a single Hangout and stays connected all day. With this, the project management team can communicate as if they are all in the same room. Each team member will stay connected to the Hangout based on availability which allows everyone to simply speak out or ask a question and get an answer. This arrangement is especially helpful for the night shift to hand off projects to the day shift (and vice-versa) in virtual face-to-face conversations.

Microsoft Teams

There certainly can be similar application to Hangouts, but Microsoft Teams is part of the Office 365 suite that augments what we do with Hangouts. I mentioned above the night/morning handoff video conversation; now couple that with the project documents and notes captured in a team chat window and in SharePoint. Memorializing the textual chats gives better context to the full group and keeps the team continually apprised of every project.

Slack

Although Slack offers great video conferencing as well, the real power of the system is the departmental or project organization in Channels. We have taken a deep dive look at Slack and, though we believe Teams and Hangouts covers what we need, there are some unique ways Slack may be helpful for you and your organization. Slack Channels allow for an organization to create centralized communication channels for departments, specific projects or whole company alerts. This type of collaboration allows available team members to jump in to a conversation and either chat up a response or launch a video conversation. This can be a great starting tool for many as it is secure, easy to deploy and accessible for all members of any team.

Principally, the tools above all have a similar construct, so starting with what may be readily available to you would be a great start. Passive remote collaborative apps like these help to minimize frustration and the time you might waste wondering if you’ll get a fast response via email or if your colleague will ever pick up the phone. We all know that waiting around for a response leaves you feeling like you should just “solve that problem” on your own. We’ve blogged about it before and will probably mention it again down the road: solving problems is easiest when barriers are minimized. I hope our approach gives you some ideas on how to get around the barriers in your way.

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