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Early visionaries in King County saw the potential for an electronic court record to provide greater effectiveness and efficiency in the Superior Court Clerk's Office. Clerk's Office staff worked with judges and other leaders in the legal community to develop a vision and generate funding. However, it quickly became clear that "a vision is not a plan."

Having a Master Plan focused attention on essential problems, explored alternatives, identified needed resources, and articulated a clear, staged path which defined a common purpose for all involved."

--King County Department of Judicial Administration, at the Court Technology Conference, 2005

Visionary leadership generated excitement, but success in practice meant that the project needed a clearly articulated plan. In 1998, leaders of the ECR Program developed a Master Plan that provided an important framework for the program as it developed.

In the ECR Program's infancy, insufficient program definition and direction created some inefficiencies and ineffectiveness.  There was just enough difference in leaders' messages and goals to result in some confusion.  The development and implementation of the Master Plan remedied these issues.  The Master Plan clarified the roles of staff and committees, as well as the project's goals.  Having a clear, elucidated plan helped translate high-level thinking to on-the-ground action.