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By Janelle Schneider

Published on Mon, December 12, 2016

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Many of you may be familiar with the Ford slogan, “quality is job one.” The slogan was used to describe the culture of the organization - emphasizing that quality was the company’s top priority and a focus for all of its employees. It spoke to quality not being an afterthought or something that was just a given, as well as it not being something that just needs to be inspected as a last step. This slogan was used to reinforce that quality needs to be built into the process, embedded into the workflow, and top of mind at all times.

Having quality control mechanisms in place to validate the work performed prior to final sign off or handing work off to another team or process is essential in ediscovery, where accuracy is absolutely critical. However, it is also important to embed quality throughout the process itself to prevent or catch any errors that may be inadvertently introduced along the way. Having the right checkpoints and processes built into your workflows to catch issues as early as possible will help minimize rework as well as subsequent delays and costs. It will also help mitigate the risk of the issue having a negative impact on other processes or decisions further down the line.

An important step in ensuring quality that too often gets missed is taking the time to evaluate and understand where in your processes or workflows issues occur and why. Understanding the root cause of an issue will help identify what needs to be done to eliminate, or at least minimize, the chance of that same issue reoccurring. Automation, refined checklists, and further streamlined processes are often great solutions coming out of root-cause analysis and action planning.

Here are three principles to ensure “quality is job one” in your organization:

  1. Robust Quality Procedures:
    • Ensure you have effective quality procedures and checklists in place – not just at the end of the process, but built in.
    • Review and update these as needed – ensuring checks are relevant and in the right place.
    • Bonus! Determine whether any of your quality checks can be automated – either the QC check or the item you are checking so that it no longer needs the check.
  2. Continuous Improvement:
    • Take the opportunity when an issue occurs to assess the cause and whether it is something that can be prevented through a process change, training, or automation.
    • For processes that are manual or have several touch points, engage your team to identify solutions that create a more streamlined process. This will allow you to ensure quality, speed up the overall process, and better allocate team resources to high-value work.
  3. Foster a Culture of Quality:
    • Create an environment where quality and continuous improvement are embraced as cultural commitments, everyone is on the lookout for improvement opportunities, and everyone keeps quality top of mind.
    • Create a space for open dialogue about how to keep improving processes and facilitate collaboration across groups around creating efficient and quality workflows.

These are just a few of the key ways to ensure the highest quality in your ediscovery workflow. Talk to your provider today and be sure they are using best practices. If you have questions or would like to discuss this topic more, please feel free to reach out to jschneider@lhediscovery.com.

About the Author
Janelle Schneider

Senior Director of EPMO & Operational Excellence

Janelle has over 13 years of ediscovery experience with a background in leading technical operations teams and optimizing workflows and processes for high-quality, high-efficiency execution. She is passionate about driving continuous improvement and innovation across the company, and analyzing areas for increased quality and process excellence to ensure Lighthouse’s clients receive exceptional service and results.