99.9% Perfect

A statistic was bandied about years ago that in managing the Apollo moon launch projects, if NASA had 99.9% of its systems working perfectly, there were still 15,837 things (or some such number) going wrong.

Apollo-11-Infographic

Merde! That’s a lot of room for error.

On that score The Merger Verger sees little difference between the moon launch and the integration of an acquisition … lots and lots of room for things to go wrong.

It’s one reason why the Verger finds checklists both empowering and debilitating. Deals contain enormous amounts of wee activities that contribute to the whole of a success. Lose track of them and your spaceship veers slowly off into outer darkness.

BUT … focus too sharply on your checklist and you have no vision on changing circumstances that may obviate certain listed activities and necessitate other new ones.

Good project managers run with checklists but they do not live by them. They think. They envision. They project. They call audibles. And are ready to do so at any time.

 

The Merger Verger Issues a Challenge:

While we’re on the subject of moon launches and whatnot, TMV would like some computer historian or NASA retiree to provide us with a comparison of the computing processing power available to NASA during, say, the Apollo 11 moon landing and that contained in the laptop from which this post is written.

Dud Diligence: an Acquisition Jack-in-the-Box

This posting is for the C-level executives out there who are doing (or thinking of doing) deals for their small or medium-sized businesses.  It is about helping you prevent form from overshadowing substance. It is about details.  PS: if details bore you permit me to humbly recommend your opting out of the deal business ASAP.

The Merger Verger has seen a boatload of due diligence checklists over the years and found almost all of them wanting, including some that were just pathetic.

Why?  Mostly because they are not written by people who run businesses; they are written by people who advise businesses.

Let’s be honest here: due diligence checklists are about the details, where God (or the devil) is.  A lawyer can make a fine checklist for matters relating to corporate formation or past board meetings and the like; an accountant likewise within his or her purview. 

These lists are fine with respect to ensuring that you get what you pay for.  But when it comes to understanding whether a product is approaching an inflection in its growth curve or whether the production manager knows the difference between a kaizen event and a tsunami, they usually ain’t worth squat.

Continue reading