Project Management Institute

Blind Spots

Teams Must Fill in the Blanks when M&As Have Missing Information

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By Marat Oyvetsky, PMP

Even in an era of merger and acquisition (M&A) mania, teams continue to encounter surprises when they help organizations join forces. It happened to me this year when a company seeking a detailed one-year roadmap for the IT merger and migration hit a roadblock: The organization it was acquiring couldn't share details of its IT infrastructure until the merger was formally approved.

When access to technical information is limited, it puts a great deal of pressure on M&A project teams, as there is little time to plan for all technical projects and merger activities. But we delivered—and you can, too—by following this M&A blueprint to fill in the blanks and create a day one plan.

Dig deeper: There's a treasure trove of public information that teams can access on the company's website. This information can include site locations, including the type of offices, such as manufacturing, sales or R&D. At a minimum, this intel will help the team build a database of sites to understand key locations that will require network services.

Discovery phase: During an M&A, teams need to allocate time to perform a technical discovery between the merging companies—everything from network diagrams to email migration documentation. The team can work to create the discovery requests for each technology workstream and expedite those requests as the merger becomes official.

Plan to prioritize: During technical pre-merger discussions, teams can plan to prioritize technical workflows for network services. This ensures that they tackle the most important workstreams first, such as having access to email on day one.

Create a roadmap: Many mergers can take at least a year to complete. Mapping out all of the technical workflows can help teams visualize all of the timelines and completion targets.

Executive support: Having leadership buy-in on the technical roadmap will help clear any roadblocks along the way. For instance, if knowledgeable IT specialists depart during the M&A, the CIO can properly allocate resources that will help the team fill in any documentation gaps. Or if funding becomes tight, technical leadership can help secure enough funds to complete the most vital of tasks and discoveries.

There's no way around the reality that M&As are often waiting games. Teams will at times feel the pressure of “hurry-up-and-wait” while they work to meet deadlines tied to the official merger date. But teams driven by a proactive mindset will be better prepared to uncover hidden knowledge so they can quickly execute integration activities at every green light. PM

img Marat Oyvetsky, PMP, is senior manager at Rackspace, San Diego, California, USA.
This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI.

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