I think we got to realise that different departments work differently, even though in every company, there is the same usual setup: sales, operations, finance -the bare minimum. The importnt glue that sticks all these departments together is a common objective to deliver value add for the stakeholders. Hence, it is important firstly,to set up a proper mission statement, and then cascade it down to department objectives,etc before you could manage the entire integration process.
Clarity in objectives and having direction that is well communicated and vetted during the planning phase is important and will contribute to enhanced success in the integration process. What I find is that with M&A there is often a rush to the “execution” phase and not enough time invested in planning which creates additional risks in the project that could be mitigated beforehand.
To add to Michele post, I also believe defining success and mapping out the benefits to be realized keeps the work on target. Those benefits are mapped to objectives and project outcomes to ensure traceability. These goals are further defined by using the smart approach. This makes it clearly defined, easy to cascade to teams and measurable. It makes the work tangible.