International Project Management Day




Consolidating to a common pharma project management approach: What it took after the M&A of two drastically-different pharmaceutical companies

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Abstract
When a major pharmaceutical company acquired one of its primary competitors, each with its own philosophy, approach, and practice of project management, the newly designated head of project management for a key division made the critical decision to adopt one approach. The question was: How?


What this is

A situation where two very different organizations have to find workable common ground after an M&A. Although billed as a "merger of equals" the fact was that one global pharmaceutical corporation acquired its primary competitor. Each company had its own practice of project management yet they were vastly different in almost every detail. In many ways, the differences in project management practice mirrored the same difference in organizational culture between the two as well.


Why it's useful

This case treats a common challenge of merger-acquisition situations – deciding whether to move to a common process (and if so, yours, mine, or ours?) And then doing so in a way that will actually work. If it doesn't, the supposed synergies and financial rewards of the M&A might never really live up to expectations.


How to use it

Read the case for the decisions the PM Director made and how he went about achieving his vision, realizing the potential obstacles. Note all the components that became part of making it all ultimately work – it wasn't just about "the process." Be sure to take note of the items in the "people, politics and change management" section near the end.


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