Doug Austin has a really good writeup about working with the Electronic Discovery Reference Model in reverse.
You can’t have a successful outcome without envisioning the successful outcome that you want to achieve. The end of the discovery process includes the production and presentation stages, so it’s important to determine what you want to get out of those stages.
His entire look at the backwards EDRM really fits into something I’ve been talking about in training classes for a long time. The best way to make sure you make the correct choices when first handling data as part of an eDiscovery project, and avoiding having to do work over again, is to get everyone to the table and figure out, as much as is possible, where you are trying to go.
Look, I get that cases change and plans will get altered as you start working in a case, but having an eDiscovery plan, or even an agreement, in place about how data is to be produced, what type of data is going to be relevant, the sources of data, etc. will help you know what to do when collecting and processing data. I can’t tell you the number of war stories I have heard about cases where data was just dumped into a review platform without any regard for understanding the type of data on hand, or an understanding of what came next, and case teams had to go back to square one when they realized that what they had done would not work with where they needed to wind up. (“Oh you want us to produce native docs, but we TIFFed everything and loaded without the natives” or “We processed that forensic image without recovering deleted files, did you need those?”)
So yeah, you may not work backwards as Doug describes it, but you don’t get anywhere working forwards without regard for where you are going to end up!