Function integration and the interfaces between them

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    During PMI workstreams representing the different functions are often arranged and each function will be responsible for carrying out the integration tasks within that workstream. Of course relaying back to a central project management role that will make sure that everything is on track.

    But what about the challenges identified in the interfaces between functions, ones that people in each individual function might not even be aware are actually influencing other functions. How would you capture those and make sure that potential synergies and challenges are being brought forward in the right forum to make sure that we address all relevant angles of these interfaces? Are there best practices of interfaces/co-relations that often occur? Specific types of workshops with a step wise approach to identifying these that one can adopt and adapt to the specific integration effort?


    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.

    Elizabeth Perlak

    Another tactic might be to introduce a cross-functional review as well. After each function has been arranged, bring together key members and review the integration plan collectively with special attention requested to those cross functional dependencies. As other commentors noted transparency is key but so is dialogue in exploring the interdependencies.

    Jerome Baumgartner

    I would agree that a key element is to build up trust and some degree of transparency despite the challenge of the uncertainty for the employee due to the potential FTE reduction. Implementing an exchange planning and workshop will contribute to “force” people to work together. Then Workshop as part of the integration exercise will also contribute to the interface analysis completeness

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