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Lessons learned on an acquisition project

Brad Egeland | Aug. 31, 2015
Treat everything that resembles a project as a project -- otherwise you'll be going back and re-doing work or you won't have any idea of what 'done' really is. I learned this the hard way.

Create a real schedule. This goes back to treating it like a real project – which I didn’t at first. I thought I was just overseeing the transfer of a few electronic drawings and some other data items. That turned into a request from the buyers for all configuration data, for all environmental test data, for a couple of test databases delivered on DVD, etc. It seemed like a never-ending process and I had no schedule created to go against. Big mistake. Doing it over again I would have created a schedule Day One and worked with them on that schedule from that point forward. That’s what I eventually did…after I had learned my lesson.

Conduct regular weekly status meetings. I conducted adhoc meetings, but not the formal weekly status meetings that I swear by. Mistake. Again, this was a result of me thinking this was a short-term effort and would be done in a month. Reality is that it took close to nine months to actually complete and I had to involve our legal staff and others in the process. What started out as me working with the buyers of the business unit – and the personnel that were transferring with the sale – ended up including many, many more people on the project team. Treating it like a project with regularly schedule status meetings would have avoided lots of chaos. I eventually got there, but it took me a few months before I realized that it wasn’t going to end until I took that control and incorporated those best practices.

Get sign offs on everything. Finally, get signoff on everything. Anything that passes from one party to the other on an effort like this basically becomes a deliverable. You need to document that you completed that requirement and delivered that data. I did that – but much of it was after the fact. By the time the effort was over I did have all of the necessary signoffs in place, but it took a considerable amount of backtracking on my part to get those signoffs. Treat it like a project from Day One…that was my biggest lesson learned.


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