Truly developing and maintaining a culture of continuous improvement and refinement is difficult to achieve, yet vital for M&A functions to deliver reliable maximum value.
Implementing retrospectives, a fundamental Agile practice, can enable practitioners to extract important lessons from M&A deals and proactively enforce them to improve future outcomes.
Retrospectives are meetings that take place during deal milestones or after the deal closes to review what is working well and what is not, as well as to consider how to improve on the process.
The goal of retrospectives is to gauge the effectiveness of deal processes and tools and to determine a plan for future improvement. These open discussions help to identify ways to improve processes and strengthen team alignment.
Morale increases overall when team members feel their voices are heard, and team members will likely have substantive follow-through on ideas they generate themselves.
All members of a team/workstream
Easy to moderate
Homework, whiteboard/large paper
Approximately an hour and a half (including prep time)
30 minutes pre-meeting:
To put the retrospective into play, set time aside to meet with your team (all team members from a single team should be present, and the meeting should come at the end of an iteration or a predefined project milestone/checkpoint), and send the questions you will ask ahead of time so that team members can reflect and prepare their responses.
Questions should include:
5 minutes: Beginning the meeting with an emphasis on openness and positivity is key; there has to be a desire to be better, listen to all team members, not just senior members, and not focus solely on positives and/or negatives.
20 minutes: Focus conversation on issues that affect work flow and team dynamics.
15 minutes: Analyze the effectiveness of any plays fielded and brainstorm potential adjustments.
15 minutes: Discuss how successful the team has been in aligning lower level work with the overarching strategic goal of the initiative.
10 minutes: Review any other pertinent items affecting the team’s effectiveness and processes.
The timing of this step will vary based on how the retrospective is applied and who is responsible for follow-up.