Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Iterative Implementation

In recent years I have become less and less convinced that courts have the ability to foresee all of the process/workflow, document, and data sharing BEFORE they install a new case or document management system.  These new systems have substantially more capabilities and flexibility that is not available in first or second generation case management systems.  The new system brings many more new capabilities and possibilities.  The old thinking about how things should be done in general does not apply and the design/specification efforts are wasted.

Therefore in recent years I have often advocated an “iterative approach” that has a new system first installed in the court with base/default capabilities.   THEN, after experiencing the new system environment, the court adjusts both the system workflows/presentation and their business processes (and ideally organizational structure) to take advantage of the new technical capabilities.  Visually presented, these are the two outside arrows of the Court Technology Framework diagram in action.

The system is therefore chosen based on the tools and potential, and not on how closely it fits the existing or imagined situation.  This in turn means that new court automation system installations are not a 6 month but rather a 12-24 effort.  And budgets and staff resources must be provided to support the effort over that time.

Many of you know and have viewed the wonderful TED Conference presentations that are available online.  One presentation on point is called “Build a tower, build a team” by Tom Wujec. I hope you enjoy it.