My carpenter partner likes to say, “A House is a work in progress”. I agree. Just because you have a yellow kitchen this year doesn’t mean that you can’t decide to paint it purple next year. Work In Progress, or WIP is frequently used in law firms to designate things that are not yet to the point where we ask a client to pay for them. Thinking about WIP and executing your work to the valued level when you are acting on client files is good business.
Beware of holding things as WIP for non-billable work. Items like checklists, documents you think will be a good precedent “someday”, and process or procedure notes are valuabe at the 80% complete stage and much better than using nothing.
We are so used to risk-proofing, error-proofing, and doing our best to be perfect on the client side of our work that we like to hold ourselves to that standard for everything. I am NOT advocating that you don’t do your best work. Today’s Tip is that you consider your research tools as perpetual work in progress and don’t let that stop you from using or sharing them.
Imagine if CanLII didn’t push decisions up to their site unless they checked for missing decisions. Seems silly right?
Hat tip to Jospeh Juran for adding the Pareto Principle to management lingo. Don’t wait.