4 visual dashboards for your legal projects | AXDRAFT (an Onit company)

Before you hit the road, you’ll probably want to get a map and plan your route. In business, if your goal is to be successful, you will also need a map.
In law, planning is an essential part of innovative workflows. A lawyer without a plan can only react. A lawyer with a plan analyzes, predicts and paves the way for the desired outcome.
It’s a short story about how to become a good lawyer.
If your goal is to lead the legal industry, you should use the software for law firms, embrace modernity contract management process, and be aware of the needs of your customers.

A lawyer without a plan can only react. A lawyer with a plan analyzes, predicts and paves the way for the desired outcome.

But all of these tools won’t get you far without a plan.
To help you plan better, strategize effectively, and track your department’s performance, you need a visual management board.
In this blog post, we will:

• discuss the difference between lean and agile approaches to legal project management
• look at the 7 key examples of visual management boards and discuss their benefits
• Find out how document workflow automation software can help you in your planning

Each of the maps featured in this blog has offline and digital versions. Either way, a visual dashboard for your legal projects will be a valuable addition to your growth strategy.

What’s inside
• Choose an approach that’s right for you
o Define the product of your legal project
o Plan ahead, make adjustments on the go
• Color code [LEAN]
• Standard work [LEAN]
• Kamishibai boards [LEAN]
• Kanban boards [AGILE]
• How document automation and visual tables work together
• Net profit

Choose an approach that’s right for you

There are two main techniques for legal project management: lean and agile.
Agile is the methodology to create a better product, putting everyone in the ongoing fine-tuning cycle. Lean, on the other hand, focuses on constantly improving the process itself, with product quality being the desired outcome.

Agile methodology is focused on product improvement, while Lean is about improving the production process.

While the Lean methodology is mainly used on production sites, agile approaches are popular with software developers and project managers. They have their differences and it is important that you understand where each is best used.
This way, you will be able to apply it correctly to your planning, and the organization of your legal projects will have a better chance of being successful.
Define the product of your legal project
Since a legal department is not an industrial factory, applying a lean, production-centric methodology can seem unnecessary.
But if you look legal contracts as one of your products, your goals might look like this:

  • Sign as many contracts as possible
  • Reduce the cost of your contracts and the time spent writing them
  • Eliminate non-billable time and bottlenecks associated with drafting, approval and negotiations

The same can apply to case management: manage as many cases as you can without spending too many resources on them.

Plan ahead, make adjustments on the go

Agile Boards focus on development processes and give you full visibility into the following:
• Priority
• Completion stage
• Responsible persons
A backlog and all distributed assignments can be difficult to keep in mind. Putting them all on a nimble board each week can help you define the scope of work and distribute it evenly throughout the week.
Since priorities can change quickly and urgent matters tend to appear out of nowhere, Agile Boards give you the flexibility to change your schedule and not lose any of the tasks in your backlog.
Now that we know the approaches, let’s take a look at the different types of visual dashboards that come with each approach and choose the ones that work best for your legal project.
Color code [LEAN]

Colorful labels are the easiest way to visually differentiate your tasks based on their type and priority. Here is an example of colors and how to use them:

  • Yellow: medium priority / emergency
  • Red: high priority / emergency
  • Blue: low priority / emergency
  • Green: special task / other

Make a list of tasks for a week, prioritize each and distribute them throughout the program.
By looking at the coloring of your calendar, you can quickly determine what tasks are in progress and if there are any pressing issues that require your attention.

Learn more about the most popular color coding method—Andon’s advice.

Standard work [LEAN]


Standard work is the cornerstone of the continuous improvement of the Lean methodology. It’s a board that has detailed specifications and action plans to get results at a certain pace.
It consists of the three key factors:

  • Takt time is a time required to complete a single task to meet customer demands.
  • Work in progress specifies the number of optimal tasks to be handled for a single lawyer at a time
  • Sequence of operations outlines the step-by-step processes that a lawyer must follow in order to minimize risk and avoid downtime

Using standard work in your legal projects can help you reduce procrastination and avoid overwork at the same time, while still keeping your performance at a brisk pace.
While not suitable for creative tasks, a standard work board is ideal for defining routine work processes, such as drafting documents.

If you’re looking for a more in-depth look, iSixSigma offers a step-by-step guide to Standard workboards.
Kamishibai boards [LEAN]


Kamishibai (Japanese: paper theater) is a type of visual management board that helps supervisors track the progress of their department’s work, namely:
• Allocation
• Sequencing
• Execution
• To follow

Kamishibai is easy to use, and gives everyone a quick visual representation of the current situation in the department:
• Is the table used
• Are the tasks performed in the correct order?
• Have any problems been encountered and recorded?
Such advice is ideal for overseeing critical issues and important legal projects.
Kamishibai boards were first introduced in the Toyota Company.
Kanban boards [AGILE]

The classic Kanban board is quite simple. It is made up of 3 columns:
• To do
• Doing
• Ended
In each column, you indicate the tasks to be carried out, in progress or already completed. It is that simple.
For legal teams, however, a Kanban board can be modified to facilitate processes such as:
• Business management
• Legal review
• Operations
Visit our more detailed blog post to learn more about kanban boards legal teams use the most.

How document automation and visual tables work together

When planning your daily and weekly tasks, it can sometimes be difficult to determine exactly how long a manual process will take. You can spend 30 minutes writing a document, or you can spend half a day looking for the right clauses.
With document automation software, your contract-related processes are:

  • Faster and almost always takes a set amount of time (e.g. 57 seconds to 15 minutes when drafting a contract)
  • Simplified for maximum efficiency and takes you from choosing a template to write to signing a contract without skipping any process
  • Designed to minimize human intervention and thus leave no room for errors. No copy and paste, no missed compliance, no unnoticed red lines.

Another valuable feature of document management software is reports and dashboards. They give you the ability to oversee all your contracts, determine next steps, and track your performance.
Always know how many contracts have been written and how much time has been spent. Use this data in your planning and your growth strategy will work with near zero friction.

At the end of the line

There is no single table. But there are enough tables to fit any legal team and project of any size.
Just choose the one or more that works best for you, train your team in its use, and your legal department’s performance will constantly improve.

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