In this task, each Integration Team identifies their priority initiatives and action items. Depending on the size, complexity, and resources dedicated to Integration, this activity can take two weeks to a month. The team may work from a generic list of tasks or start at ground zero with analysis of the merging organizations. The objective is to list the short- and long-term initiatives that will help the combined companies achieve the defined merger synergies and goals.

Determining Action Items

  1. The Integration Team leader facilitates a brainstorming session to identify actions that must be completed.
  2. Determine whether the action can be completed before the High-Level Plan is due, or whether the action is a longer-term priority initiative.
  3. For each action, discuss and agree on which member of the Integration Team is responsible and assign a due date for the action to be completed.
  4. Note any barriers to completion, critical resource requirements, or  cross-team dependencies.
  5. Document the initiatives, responsible party, and due date. Also note any barriers to completion, critical resource requirements, or cross-team dependencies, if appropriate.

Determining Priority Initiatives

Once priority initiatives have been identified, the Integration Team may feel overwhelmed by the number of initiatives that must be tackled. To assist the team in determining where to begin and how to prioritize the initiatives, use the Priority Initiatives Template. List each priority initiative, and then review each initiative against the following guidelines 

  • Is it in line with our integration strategy?
  • Will it help us achieve our corporate goals going forward? Will it help us to serve our internal/external customers?
  • Will it help us to achieve the synergies or cost savings driving the merger/acquisition?
  • How risky is this initiative? Do we stand to gain or lose a significant amount with this proposition?
  • Can we implement this initiative or resolve this issue quickly and easily?

You may also add questions to this list that are specific to the deal and/or your situation. The initiatives that the team responds to positively should be ranked as high priorities. These are essentially your early wins. The initiatives that will negatively impact all areas are initiatives that the team should eliminate or consider the lowest priority. Those initiatives that are "mixed" should then be ranked based on the team's discussion around the impact on the issues addressed in relation to the questions that are most important to the organization and the team.