Integration Playbook Fundamentals

By Global PMI Partners Partner, Scott Whitaker

Many of the playbooks I see are simply collections of templates and artifacts from previous integrations. Some steps and outputs may be documented, but they are often out of sequence and confusing to anyone trying to leverage the playbook to inform their integration planning.

While I applaud anyone trying to better organize the complex task of integration, a poorly executed playbook can often confuse more than help.

Here are some guidelines to help create a robust and adoptable playbook for your organization.

A comprehensive playbook solution should achieve the following basic objectives:

  • Provide a methodology that ensures value capture and the achievement of integration and synergy objectives
  • Ensure consistency across an organization for integration planning and execution
  • Transform a complex activity into an easy to manage process with defined phases, steps and deliverables
  • Provide pre-approved tools & templates to accelerate the completion of key deliverables
  • Infuse best practices and lessons learned to help with knowledge transfer and application
  • Provide an intuitive platform for training

Well designed playbooks can also help with the following:

  • Connect corporate development processes to integration planning processes
  • Specify who needs to be involved and when
  • Anticipate and document key decision needs required in each phases
  • Document anticipated risks and issues requiring action
  • Provide parameters to ensure Day 1 readiness
  • Outline processes and steps for unique M&A scenarios (e.g. carve-outs)
  • Provide clear rules of engagement and protocols for managing sensitive information

The key to a successful implementation of a playbook solution is adoption. Leaders need to see the value immediately, and embrace the process. Assume you need to “sell” leaders on using the playbook!

Key steps here include:

  • Connect the playbook value and benefits directly to helping achieve the integration objectives
  • Highlight efficiency gains that can be leveraged via playbook usage
  • Design a robust training and knowledge transfer plan to facilitate implementation

Last-Don’t let your playbook become static and inflexible! Playbooks are living articulations of a defined process and need to be updated and optimized near the conclusion of your integration.

What else makes for a great playbook? Chime in and “Like” this post on LinkedIn by clicking here. Good luck with your integration!

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