The Agile approach to project management was originally developed to address workflow inefficiencies in the software development industry. This approach is based around universally applicable operational values such as speed, flexibility, cross-functional transparency, and teamwork — values which are perfectly suited to highly dynamic, informationally complex undertakings like M&A.
As a project management style, Agile has proven to be uniquely suited to the modern globalized business landscape, which is defined by its unpredictability, instantaneous communication, and focus on rapid growth and innovation. The success of the Agile approach has led to its adoption throughout a variety of industries, including M&A.
What is Agile M&A and how does it add value?
Agile M&A is a management system derived from Agile software development and Lean manufacturing that focuses on delivering value to the deal by continuously improving value delivery processes. Agile M&A was developed and built out by Kison Patel, DealRoom's CEO and Founder.
Agile M&A adds value by focusing on the following seven activities:
defining the deal value
prioritizing the backlog
collecting meaningful analytics
responding to change
creating a smooth workflow
1. Defining the deal value
Starting the deal with clear processes, parameters and goals is the key to executing a successful deal. The teams should come together for a kick-off meeting in order to
define key value drivers
define the deal process
align their strategies
Both teams should leave the meeting with defined sets of tasks, and a clear understanding of roles and goals.
2. Prioritizing the backlog
The way to optimize the deal-making process is to use prioritized lists. By prioritizing, the team will always work on the most important tasks first.
Using a m&a project management tool that is specifically designed for M&A is ideal; this tool would be designed to address sensitive information and compliance. Having weekly meetings is the key to keeping these lists current.
3. Enabling collaboration
Enabling collaboration is a huge element of successful due diligence. The best way to enable collaboration is to use a software due diligence to bridge cross-functional gaps. Using a tool or platform will eliminate working offline in silos and creating extra steps to share information and prolonged waiting. Creating a central workspace allows the deal teams to communicate and collaborate seamlessly.
4. Collecting meaningful analytics
Using meaningful analytics will help teams continuously improve the M&A process. Risks can be managed through analytics that can help track identified risks within the deal. This is another area where a project management tool can help by collecting data that is typically not captured in Excel or via email. A tool can help pinpoint where people spend the most time during a deal, as well as where bottlenecks in the process may lie.
5. Responding to change
Change can be either good or bad, but it is always present. Often changes cannot be controlled, but the way in which a company responds to change can be controlled. Changes often disrupt the workflow of process or group, slowing the flow down or possibly creating bottlenecks. Being swift to identify the change and determine what effects this change will have is important to figure out how to make adjustments.
6. Continuously improving
Continuously improving a process involves taking a look at the process and determining where there is waste, extra effort, or where steps can be eliminated.
These small improvements, over time, make the process better.
7. Creating a smooth workflow
A smooth workflow can be created through eliminating waste and analyzing the process for non-value-add activities that can be removed or simplified. These include everything from unnecessary reports to meetings without a clear purpose, to duplicate work. It is not about what can be added to the deal-making process, but what can be taken away.
This article is part 2 in our Agile M&A blog series.