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Editor's letter: Defining success

Don't rely on 'return on investment' when measuring the value of an initiative, says Manju Manglani

29 May 2013


A pop song by Meja captures the challenges facing many law firms today: "It's all about the money… I don't think it's funny to see us fade away. It's all about the money… and I think we got it all wrong anyway."

Most management initiatives these days need to be justified in the context of return on investment (ROI). This is notoriously difficult to measure - how do you financially quantify ?how well partners are collaborating on a project? It is easier to measure the impact of improved business development following attendance of a recent training programme. ?But, there are too many worthy projects and desirable behaviours whose impact is hard to measure in financial terms.

Another difficulty with using ROI as a measure of success is that it can be easily manipulated. Software vendors, keen to demonstrate that their products have resulted in time savings of hundreds of hours, sometimes fail to mention the co...

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