A Week in the Life of a Senior Project Manager
An Inventus Senior Project Manager, Lewis Bennett, shares tales of data processing and Barbados.
During the cycle commute across London, I’m wondering what challenges are going to be coming my way in the days ahead. The day’s agenda is on my mind. By 09:00 AM, I’m at my desk, changed into appropriate non-lycra based clothing and answering emails from clients that didn’t require an urgent weekend response.
I have an afternoon meeting at a client’s office with a director colleague. We present Spotlight (Inventus' proprietary dashboard application that enables clients to log in remotely and measure KPIs against our performance) to the client. The client loves the visibility and accountability, and with a good impression duly made we head back to the office to catch up on the emails which have been flooding into my inbox. Very annoying that projects don’t pause themselves while I’m away from my desk! One email catches my attention: ‘Project Manager required for data processing on Caribbean island’.
I receive a call from the ‘Caribbean connection’ – they have data stored in Barbados and need it processed and loaded to Relativity for an on-site review. They’re not comfortable with the idea of commercially sensitive data leaving their premises, let alone the island. Our technical team prepares the on-site kit, made up of a portable processing server to be urgently dispatched to the client’s address. A work visa is submitted and costs are signed off on. Flights are arranged, and I will depart for the Caribbean for three weeks to oversee the data processing and document review. I know, it’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it! It’s mid-winter in London; the thought of spending a bit of time somewhere sunnier is certainly appealing, but if I’m honest, the thought of working alone on site is always a bit daunting. I spend the rest of the day briefing my colleagues on the different projects I am currently handling but as each case is assigned a primary, and secondary PM by default, the transition is always seamless and easy.
More details come in regarding the project in Barbados. The client has requested that no phones or internet connected devices be brought into the room where the data processing is going to take place. Understandable, but that’s going to mean getting all the logistics right while I remain incommunicado.
To circumvent this, I’m going to pack a suitcase full of hardcopy technical manuals to make sure that I have all I need to troubleshoot on site, and as I’m printing these off a call comes through from a number I don’t recognise. A new client has been recommended to use Inventus for the collection of WhatsApp and text messages from an iPhone 6. The iPhone is currently being used by its owner, and he has only an hour to spare for it to be imaged between business meetings in London’s West End. I brief the Forensics Team, the assigned consultant dives into a taxi and makes it to the custodian at the reception area of a hotel. The phone is imaged, the consultant takes the data back to HQ and gets to work on extracting the messages and producing a report. A very satisfying Excel spreadsheet is put together that VLOOKUPS the phone numbers against the Custodian’s contacts list. The report is ready for court, only hours after we met the custodian in a hotel lobby. It’s always the art of the possible with us.
When it rains it pours. A courier passes me a box. Unfortunately, it’s not an exciting Amazon delivery, instead it contains three hardware encrypted hard drives. Hundreds of thousands of scanned hardcopy documents have been provided from a third party for loading to the review database. That’s a full day of work. I get to work completing chain of custody forms, copying the data to our servers, editing load file and loading the data into Relativity. It’s soon apparent that some scanned images are missing, some images require converting to a different format, and for some documents images have been provided without metadata. A painstaking effort in Excel takes place to identify the missing data, followed by lengthy emails to try and convince the third party that their export is incomplete. It would have been easy to miss but we identified the issue before it became a problem for our client. QC is always key. Not the most glamorous of day’s work, but it feels rewarding once complete.
My last day in London for three weeks and it’s business as usual. A senior US Attorney has been brought onto a multinational case which we have been working on in the UK for a number of years. Due to European data privacy rules he’s unable to login to view the documents, so I’m requested to interrogate the data and answer the myriad of questions he needs answers for. We work together on the phone for a number of hours, meanwhile I’m keeping an eye on other clients’ emails though they are gradually picked up by the secondary Project Managers assigned on those matters.
The fun continues. A client needs 50 GB of PST data processed over the weekend and loaded to Relativity for first thing on Monday morning. We go the extra mile and arrange coverage over the weekend for the processing work. It will be another team effort, out of hours and against the clock, but I’m confident by Monday the client will have what they need to kick off their urgent document review and hit their court deadlines. It’s not the first time we’ve been asked to pull the rabbit out of the hat, and I know it won’t be the last. And some of the rabbits are really huge!
I’m taking an early flight on Saturday morning to the Caribbean, so it’s time to go home, pack the suitcase and triple check my passport is where I think it is.
I couldn’t sleep knowing I had to wake up at 4:30 am to catch my flight to Grantley Adams airport. Half awake, I made it to the airport with time to spare for a pit stop at WH Smith and pick up a new book for the long-haul flight. It’s a hard life… see you in three weeks!