While standing up an IMO and functional work streams, it is important to establish a weekly cadence between IMO teams to promote daily progress, escalate risks and quickly resolve problems. A reliable and consistent touch point with the functional work streams, as well as the SteerCo, allows the IMO to drive transparency, consistency and accountability throughout the integration.
To properly execute an integration, it is crucial that the integration leader, together with the SteerCo, defines the functional work streams and recruits strong work stream leaders. To do this, it is important to set the operating norms and clearly communicate how decisions will be made throughout the integration. An integration leader should look to work stream leads to provide deep functional knowledge and turn to the IMO to provide program management support and deep integration experience.
When identifying and working with the functional work stream leaders, the integration leader should consider the following:
- Work stream leads should have the functional knowledge and authority to make decisions that may have a significant impact on the business, while also taking into consideration dependencies on other functions and parts of the business.
- Integration leaders must create a strong working relationship with each of the work stream leads, as they will be responsible for executing the milestones and tasks related to the integration.
To confirm that work stream leads are adequately prepared, the integration leader and IMO should be in constant communication to discuss progress against the integration plan (e.g., status of the milestones, key risks and issues, cross-functional interdependencies).
4. Functional charters and Day One vision
Once the integration program is defined, the IMO should turn its focus to designing the newly combined company (NewCo) and determining what it will take to get there. While still upholding the guiding principles of the integration, the integration leader will guide the functional teams to determine the work streams’ charters and the critical requirements that need to be met on or shortly after Day One.
The work streams’ charters clarify the roles and responsibilities of each functional work stream, what is in scope or out of scope as part of the integration, anticipated resource requirements, key interdependencies with other functions, and an initial set of Day One milestones to close the transaction. While the work stream leads will develop the charters, the IMO will support the work streams and challenge their charters to validate that they align to the guiding principles of the deal. The IMO will also verify that each charter includes the critical requirements that need to be met on Day One to close the deal.