A recent article featured on Law.com, Lawyers Want 'Easier' Technology. But Providers Aren't Sure What That Means, highlights major challenge facing legal innovators today. Namely, how to integrate diverse customer feedback into a responsive, timely and cohesive development or innovation roadmap.
The article called out a few key challenges facing innovators and technology companies alike, the irregular and inconsistent feedback, translation issues between technologists and legal practitioners, technical knowledge gap, and incentivizing attorneys and end users to provide feedback in the first place. In many ways, the challenges boil down to simply ensuring that feedback is valuable for both the providing and receiving parties in terms of results, clarity and impact on innovation. I have certainly come across these challenges throughout my decade and a half in the ediscovery space, but have found quite a different environment and approach to innovation at DISCO.
A Different Approach
DISCO has developed a culture of responsive development. We do not wait for a specified three-hour window once a year to uncover client needs and desires. Rather, through developing a clear stance of co-innovation and a development cycle that integrates client feedback on an ongoing basis, we are able to identify, address, beta test and improve in a fraction of the time normally seen in the legal technology space.
Creating great software is like crafting the perfect tool — it requires engineering excellence and deep domain expertise. As such, we have heavily invested in hundreds of exceptional engineers as well as former discovery practitioners and practicing attorneys to inform the development process and ensure that we are architecting the best possible solutions for the challenges facing practitioners on a daily basis. Gathering this expertise and marrying it with client feedback is not a one-off effort, but rather an iterative and continuous focus within DISCO.
DISCO’s design philosophy is driven by a deep respect for the law. This is demonstrated in weekly Law Review meetings, where design mock-ups are held accountable to a room of legal professionals. Seasoned attorneys, project managers, litigation support professionals, and technical experts review each phase of the development to ensure that every feature works the way you do.
When formal design presentations are made to the Law Review team, no less that three iterations of review, from low resolution mock-ups to a working product, are set before the team for scrutiny. When problems or recommendations arise, the team continues to iterate until the solution is sound. Important to the process is the philosophy that quality and refinement are not to be compromised in favor of velocity.
Product Advisory Council (PAC)
To augment the continual feedback loop and innovation cycle from Law Review, several times a year we also gather top partner clients to analyze and validate feedback, proposed solutions and the general innovation path for the near term at DISCO. PAC includes senior leadership of the firm, top engineers, DISCO legal practitioners, and law firm, corporate, and service provider clients to ensure that nothing is lost in translation.
This process is specifically designed for hands-on interaction with product innovation and engineering solutions to address issues and areas of improvement highlighted within client feedback. Groups of more than 60 clients and partners have gathered to collaboratively drive the innovation of DISCO forward, gladly spending hours with the DISCO team — because the result is a tool that better fits their needs.
Rather than ricocheting from random piece of feedback to random piece of feedback, the continual and methodical approach employed by DISCO provides continual validation of feedback while ensuring that proposed solutions and improvements actually are best fit for use. The roadmap, while a living concept, maintains consistency and flexibility without sacrificing speed to release and the end result is a better more purpose built suite of solutions for practitioners.
The DISCO Law Review and PAC process creates an elegant and simple product that feels intuitive to legal professionals. Quick onboarding and rapid feature adoption are all outcomes of this design diligence. Powered by the Law Review and PAC, DISCO creates features that solve the problems you experience. Things work as you would expect, with the details beneath the surface allowing for a powerful experience and an easy-to-use interface.
To circle back to the article: I’m not sure what other providers are doing, but at DISCO, we incorporate feedback from legal professionals throughout the development process. The result is a software that lawyers love to use — and based on how fast we’re growing, word is spreading.