You’re an ad agency, home of a bunch of creative types who play games and think weird thoughts.  Ideas are a dime a dozen, but great ideas happen when they happen, and you can’t rush greatness.  But then your biggest client comes to you and says change.  The implication?  Change or else.  So you change, and you find you can reduce the time on the job from eight weeks to three and save the client 40% and boost productivity by 3.5%.  It’s true.  Can be done.  Was done.

Here was the initial reaction when Kodak asked Partners & Napier to streamline its process:

"When Kodak first asked us to do this, people worried that no one understood how long it takes to get to a great idea," concedes Partners’ CEO Sharon Napier. Chief creative officer Jeff Gabel says the opposite has happened. More often than not, Gabel says, creative work resembles a "giant hair ball."

The firm went "all-in," earning certification in ISO 9000.  This is akin to Six Sigma/Lean in that it requires you to analyze and document your processes, and then look for efficiencies that can be created.   While the results have been great,  Jeff Gabel notes that "you’ve removed your slop factor." (That should be legal term.)

Think about this.  An advertising firm can systematize its processes, eliminate the slop factor and operate efficiently while still being creative.  If they can do it, shouldn’t we lawyers be able to do the same?  Now you know why I think project management is so important.