Do you think the Functional Area Lead should be a project manager (from the PMO, if the company has a PMO) or should be a manager from the functional area? I lean toward project manager because that’s the primary skill set needed to plan all the work across workstreams within the functional area, mitigate risks, coordinate work across workstreams within the functional area, report up progress and escalate issues. However, if a PM is playing that role, how do you maintain proper accountability for functional area managers who should ultimately be accountable for whether or not their team(s) deliver the work necessary to integrate?
(note – I’m very biased toward project managers because I lead my company’s PMO. I would love to hear other perspectives to balance out my bias.)
Well, for the overall transaction management, I would agree that someone with high skills in project management needs to lead this transaction to manage the transaction within the allocated time. In contrast, for each functional area, I would recommend being led by someone content with the area’s speciality to report information and provide decisions immediately.
From my perspective, the CEO or the COO should be the M&A project lead. If there is a position of PMO exists in the organization, the PMO can be the primary assistant to the M&A project lead to coordinate with the functional lead. With this setting, the M&A project team has seen to be strongly empowered and should be able to manage easier down the road.
I’m in agreement with your suggestion for a PM who works with and through the function leads for all workstreams. We’ve experienced the challenge of function leads being already stretched with their normal operational responsibilities and projects, and struggle with the additional integration responsibilities. In some cases however, if you had an individual who has capacity and the skillset, they may be able to easily step into the PM role as well.