Objective - Initiate communication with all project team members. Ensure that focus is on project goals, priorities, key milestones, processes & tools, and success criteria.
Technique - During the early stages of an M&A initiative, the Program Manager facilitates the Program Kickoff with the entire project team, including all contributors, consultants, sponsors, and team leads. The meeting establishes clear guidelines on how the team will operate to achieve a successful outcome.
Objective - Design a custom workflow and toolset that will support the specific needs of the M&A initiative.
Technique - Once the team is aligned on the overall goals and objectives and ready to collaborate, tools such as DealRoom (dealroom.net) will be configured and customized to ensure optimal fit to the specific needs of this particular M&A project. Role-based training events are held as needed to augment the initial foundational training to enable adequate level of support for the tools throughout the project. For example, application administrators may require additional knowledge regarding tool management. The project manager may require hands-on coaching to understand how to apply Agile techniques to different team-level events.
Objective - Build the initial program plan and ensure work is sequenced in the proper rank order by priority.
Technique - Once the necessary tools are configured and all required team members have completed initial training sessions, project tasks are collected, aggregated, and organized for all project teams. Representatives from each team collaborate to ensure the Program Backlog is an aggregate of all work items from all teams, and that appropriate priority is assigned to each item. As work is executed and completed, additional work is expected to originate from a number of different sources such as the buyer, consultants, managers, lawyers, etc.
Objective - Ensure clarity of team plan for the day. Identify and eliminate obstacles as soon as possible to maximize progress.
Technique - All team members from each team meet daily to gain agreement on plan for the day. Issues, requests, concerns are discussed and tracked by the Project Lead.
Objective - Enable teams to inspect current processes and tools, and to identify opportunities for improvement.
Technique - All team members from a single team meet at the end of an iteration (or a predefined project milestone/checkpoint) to review both effective and dysfunctional processes.
Objective - Enable all teams to collaborate and identify risks & dependencies across teams, so that a program-level plan can be finalized.
Technique - Team members from all teams meet to review key interaction points for work items requiring support from multiple teams. Teams identify critical dependencies and establish approximate timing of predecessors and successors to minimize risk of delays. Key risks are documented and categorized by response strategy, i.e. avoid, accept, mitigate, or transfer.
Objective - Enable all teams to communicate progress and obstacles to encourage efficient resolution of intra-team issues.
Technique - During program execution, one member from each project team meets with other team representatives to discuss successes and challenges. The Program Lead documents and updates the issue log and prioritizes major impediments to Executive Management Team for assistance as needed.
Objective - Evaluate new requests and/or unplanned work to redefine overall priority of work items.
Technique - During program execution, typically once every 2 weeks, representatives from each project team hold a meeting to review requests and unplanned work introduced to the initiative. The level of complexity, effort, and uncertainty for each request is discussed in detail. A priority level is assigned for each new request; if the request is urgent, current work in progress may be deprioritized to allow team members to dedicate time to the new request.
Objective - Review effectiveness of the processes and tools to determine a plan for future improvement.
Technique - At the end of each iteration, representatives from each team hold a meeting to discuss the level of effectiveness of existing processes and toolset. The team explores opportunities to improve quality and/or efficiency of current processes in order to reduce overall project effectiveness or cost.
Objective - Provide a holistic view of progress, risks, and issues associated with the overall initiative.
Technique - On a regular basis (either weekly, bi-weekly, or each iteration), Project Leads provide a progress update on the status of each team to the Program Lead. Data reported may include the following elements: planned work vs. completed work, requirements volatility, team cycle time, etc.
Objective - Maximize overall efficiency of program team members by doing work in parallel.
Technique - For large initiatives that require multiple workstreams to be managed simultaneously, the organization will benefit from following an integrated approach where Diligence activities and Integration Planning efforts are carried out in parallel. This process enables the project team to share knowledge effectively across workstreams, which shortens the duration of Integration Execution, resulting in shorter overall project duration. By leveraging other plays such as “Multi-team Planning” and “Multi-team Standup,” knowledge is disseminated consistently so communication across teams is managed efficiently.
Objective - Optimize team productivity and effectiveness by ensuring every member of the project understands how to contribute to the overall effort.
Technique - Program Kickoff and consistent reinforcement of team responsibilities will enable collaboration, with focus and maximum performance in mind.
Objective - Identify potential existential threats to the M&A project by roleplaying project failure.
Technique - Unlike other forms of preliminary risk analysis that attempt to foresee various challenges that could emerge over the project lifecycle, a premortem assumes that the project has already failed and attempts to explain why. By placing the “mortem” examination before, rather than after, the deal, this play allows the deal team to take meaningful steps against project failure, rather than simply reacting after the fact.
Objective - Enable project team to adapt to changing conditions, unexpected requests, and to continue working towards a common objective without delays.
Technique - Implementation of short, iterative cycles enable teams to optimize feedback loops, which contribute to continuous improvement. Consistent application of this play will lead to high-performing teams that are inherently self-learning and achieve consistent results.
Objective - Maximize completion of work by empowering the team members closest to the problem to make decisions without the need to engage higher levels of the organizational hierarchy.
Technique - Enabling team members who have the deepest understanding of the situational context to make decisions minimizes the unnecessary handoffs that typically result in delays. In order to apply this play, the management team must provide formal authority and autonomy to the teams.
Objective - Minimize the need for recurring status meetings to convey information. Maximize the time spent on performing meaningful, valuable work.
Technique - Hold structured and focused collaboration events for teams on a consistent basis. Escalate critical information on an as-needed basis to executive leadership team.
Looking for additional guidance on how to implement Agile in your next M&A process?
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