How to execute a flawless Day 1

By Global PMI Partners

The term “Day 1 planning” gets a lot of emphasis in any integration planning discussion, as it should.

A flawlessly executed Day 1 can be a powerful catalyst for achieving integration objectives, and can help set a positive tone for the execution phase of an acquisition or merger.

Here’s a quick summary of what I consider the key common denominators of a well-planned and flawlessly executed Day 1.

While there are always some additional tasks you may need to do based on the specific requirements of a transaction, these are the basics:

Integration Planning

  • The Integration Management Office (IMO) is fully mobilized, and all project governance has been fully operationalized (e.g. the Steering Committee has been formed)
  • All workstream leads have been identified, and joint teams have been working on non-sensitive integration planning initiatives for at least several weeks or more
  • All “day 1 mandatory” initiatives have been identified, and status tracking has been established to confirm completion by or on Day 1 (the list is typically dominated by IT, Finance and HR initiatives)
  • Processes & protocols for the requesting and sharing of data has been formalized so workstream leads can use it to inform integration planning
  • All IMO collaboration tools, templates and processes have been defined, trained and “stood up”
  • Robust tracking for issues, risks and decision needs has started to help identify any problematic topics that need to be addressed
  • Initial workplans and year 1 roadmaps have been started to allow for a quick pivot to the execution phase after close (while these are certainly not complete at this stage, having them stubbed out by Day 1 drives momentum into the overall planning effort)

Day 1 Communications Planning

  • Key messages and talking points to support Day 1 communications have been drafted and vetted thru the senior management team
  • All key stakeholder groups and key contacts have been identified
  • Materials for customers & suppliers have been developed, and a plan for contacting key contacts is in place (e.g. some key customers may require a personal call ahead of the formal announcement)
  • Materials for employees (FAQs, resource guides etc.) have been developed to support Day 1 employee events
  • Materials have been translated into native languages where needed
  • Logistical planning (who is where) along with a specific Day 1 schedule of events and any week 1 visits at key locations has been formalized
  • Feedback mechanisms have been established to solicit customer and employee questions or concerns
  • Public facing branding related changes & announcements (e.g. websites, social platforms, signage) has been prepared & staged for execution as soon as the deal is announced
  • All of the above has been reviewed and where needed, rehearsed ahead of Day 1

Completing these basics will allow for a quick transition to the execution phase, and will ensure all key stakeholders are informed, engaged and on board.

Good luck with your integration!

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