I see a number of similar links, but none seem to have a solution, mostly "they shouldn't be doing that"'s. I agree, but please, read on:
Scenario: 800K pages of documents, narrative(e.g. emails)/bank statements/legal (e.g. options agreements). We are a small team, with only 2 investigators (1 of whom is primarily responsible for production), 1 financial person, and 1 legal person (along with some admin assistants and outside specialists). We have multiple ongoing projects (think different cases in different courts in different countries).
The thing is, the 800K pages of docs have not been fully reviewed (at this point, maybe 50%). So, we decide on work product (Monday; person 1 will do x by Friday) but by Tuesday afternoon, we've inevitably uncovered some additional documentation.
Too often, this documentation changes the whole story, changes the angle we need to come at it, changes the relationships. By Tuesday afternoon, the various legal teams (who do little investigating) request various work products in relation to this new find. My investigator/work product champion takes off on it, with a full heart, and (you guessed it) before it's done (all too often) we have even more information that changes things or causes a redirect. It's insanity.
We're processing, at times, 2-3K pages/day. So you can see how even a few bombshells in there cause havok like no tomorrow, and yet they are actually even less than 1% of total documents.
How are we supposed to handle this? Force through a week of finishing what we started? What if it's useless or wrong? Wait to produce until the investigation is done? More often than not, it's following one particular thread that itself leads to new revelations, AND we have statutes of limitations on filing this and that. Hire more staff? It would take months to have them gain enough traction to be useful, and guess who'd have to train them?
We tried kanban - the boards would get full of nonsense within a week or two. Having a high priority "fast lane" was a good idea.. until it wasn't. A burndown chart looks like a plateau, after you adjust for added tasks and how many remain unfinished... client (and product owner, really) wants someone to manage this crazy (yours truly), but doesn't really want to change their habits (which are mostly paper-based.. did I mention we're printing and manually reviewing all of these documents??)
Any and all advice and perspectives on this (especially with models or examples or actual "do this" suggestions) are so, so appreciated.
TL;DR: Management wants more control, more work product, more value per $.
Staff want to avoid the constant re-work, have an idea of what the overall strategy is, see their work-product actually getting shipped
I want to show that the above two are not mutually exclusive, and that there is a way for these needs to interface nicely, without a huge brake put on the workflow, wasted meetings, etc. I can see that these three wants are reasonable and rational, but there's a serious grind between them right now..