Michael Maggiotto Jr
Terrific question @srosenlund. This is where transparency and communication throughout the deal teams of the integrating companies is critical. Each merging entity needs to be having conversations with the appropriate people about the downstream impact of each task, In much the same way a manufacturing assembly line must be aware of the downstream impact of bottlenecks at any point in the line, so to must the integration team understand the impact of unforeseen or unaware influences. The challenge, of course, is the “unaware”. How can you resolve an influence you are unaware is influencing? The only way is transparent and clear communication… transparent to the degree possible, that is.
“He or she who asks the questions, controls the [process]” to partially quote a key professional speaker. Originally, he was addressing the sales process, but the quote applies to all strategy and project management too. Asking questions, probing for information, and uncovering the unknown will reveal that which you previously were unaware and allow for appropriate mitigation steps to be applied to remedy the issues and reduce or eliminate challenges during PMI. I wish there was a better magic wand, but there is not. Plan effectively, communicate transparently and consistently, question everything… these will allow you to act accordingly.