This is the second and final part of this Mergers and Acquisitions series. I hope you found the first part and this part enjoyable.

The Compaq and Tandem cultures seemed to gel ok, but the combined Compaq and Hewlett Packard cultures were much different. Of course, who couldn’t have seen that when Tandem was started by a disgruntled Hewlett Packard employee. Compaq was generally considered the young, scrappy, Texas computer company that shot from the hip. However, Hewlett Packard was generally considered a bunch of old engineers who couldn’t move fast enough for the new IT industry. From the very beginning culture was an issue. It was discussed in the white room but the power people in the merger were not going to give up this merger.

Ultimately, the old and new cultures even within Hewlett Packard clashed before the merger was complete and a proxy battle ensued. The proxy battle finally came to an end and the merger was officially completed in 2001. However, in late 2005, the competitive effectiveness of Hewlett-Packard's merger with Compaq was still a subject of debate among analysts and outside observers, and it may take many more years before it will be unequivocally clear whether the HP-Compaq merger turns out to be a success or failure. The post merger cultural impacts at Hewlett Packard were extensive enough to lead to alcoholism, stroke, and suicide. More than one family filed suit against the company claiming that it was corporate pressure that caused the loss of their loved ones and an Army of counselors were hired to complete office to office counseling of the remaining personnel for such mental disorders as survivor syndrome. Read More→

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With the current state of the economy I decided to speak about the inevitable merger and acquisition activity that will take place.  I will do this in a two part post because of the length of the article and hope that as always you find the information useful.  Don't forget to join our newsletter for free stuff and more content and as always Like us on Facebook because we like you.  🙂

Mergers and acquisitions are a normal course of business.  Generally these activities are meant to gain some competitive advantage, but history has proven that there are good and bad mergers.  Competitive advantage usually comes in the form of economies of scale like consolidation of facilities and reduction of work forces, but competitive advantage can also come from acquiring something of value like intellectual property.  However, what needs to be understood before going into any merger or acquisition is its impact on the employees.  Understanding these impacts will greatly affect the outcome of the merger or acquisition and could very well keep a business out of serious trouble.

This is a very important issue because several Fortune 500 companies are consolidating as the economy becomes more competitive.  Every merger raises a number of key issues that include the corporate culture of both companies, the competitive position of the company, the communication of the merger, and the potential cost savings of the combined company.  As a project manager with Compaq Computer Corporation when Compaq and Hewlett Packard became the world’s largest IT company merger in history, I saw first-hand the impact of cultural clashes within the company and its affects on employees, stock holders, and consumers.  This merger was studied by many Fortune 500 companies considering this growth method and some analysts feel that while Hewlett Packard may again be a good investment one day, it may not ever be a good company again.  All over the world eyes have been focused on Hewlett Packard as they continually realigned and re-focused their post merger strategy and they are but one company that represents the difficulties of high-level mergers and acquisitions. Read More→

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First of all I would like to apologize for not posting more in the last few months and explain why.  My last few months have been spent in Alaska supporting projects on the North Slope.  Needless to say, I will have several articles driven by my fabulous experience up there and I look forward to your comments on them.  I thank all of you for your support while I was out of pocket on the Arctic Circle and I am here to tell you that I am back and you can expect to hear more from me in the future.  Also, don't forget to sign up for our newsletter so that you can have all the additional free content and stay up to date with the latest in project management and business tactics.  Now, on to the article.

In traveling the world meeting people in other corporations and seeing how they are organized, it is interesting how the titles in management are used and how positions are sometimes combined and morphed.  However, the basic functions of any management position never really change.  As such, I wanted to discuss the functions of management a bit more here at Project Victories.  At Hewlett Packard, the specific form of management that I engaged in was Program Management or Project Management.  In fact my whole department was setup that way.  The organization became flatter every day and the job of my immediate supervisor was to manage the department's portfolio of projects in the very same way that the individual project managers managed their projects.  However, with all forms of management there exist some basic functions that can be witnessed on any given day.  These functions are planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Read More→

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Ok guys, I guess I’m just going to be on a risk management kick for a bit because I am writing about it again. Let me set the stage. I live on beautiful Lake Travis in Austin, Texas and the lake is about 67 miles long and 200 feet deep in some areas when the water is up. It is a man-made lake but it is still patrolled by the lake police heavily. Additionally, there is no bridge over this lake, ferry, and very few shuttles. So most of the time you have to take your own private boat to the other side or drive an hour and a half. 

There are plenty of small business men here and many of them attempt to capitalize on the lack of water taxies. So there I was, sitting at my local bar and grill staring at the lower Colorado river that makes up Lake Travis when I saw the latest person to fall victim to the laws of Risk Management. He had 60 people to shuttle from one side of the lake to the other. Now that is a lot of people, but it wasn’t that far of a trip. It may be a half mile. The boat never even gets out of sight. So this man that wanted to start his own shuttle service on a major holiday weekend takes to the lake with his first passengers. Only, he had not prepared or given thought to risk. 

This sets the stage. Choppy water, inexperience, no planning and power tools! He loads up his first customers and heads for the open water. It’s a busy lake. It’s huge. It’s a holiday weekend and he is in an 18 foot ski boat with eight people! It doesn’t take long before he encounters his first wake and then his second. Normally this isn’t a problem, boats are made for water but these wakes came into a boat with too many people on it and the boat’s pump for pumping out the water was not working. You can see this coming can’t you? He begins to sink with passengers. Can you say Titanic?  Read More→

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In preparing for a future in management or just trying to remain in a management role, a person must ask themselves “What do I think the future of management will be like?”  This is a difficult question and only by looking at both the past and the present does an individual stand a chance of developing a vision of the future.

Corporate structures typically follow military models and in the past they were modeled after the vertical, rigid command and control structure of the old military (WW II).  Most managers used an autocratic management style and information flowed one way only.  This is the way it was all the time, not just in times of crisis that demanded that someone take the lead.  Employees were expected to know what to do when they were given their orders and once given their orders they were expected to shut-up and do their job.  Very little thought was given to truly inspiring employees to deliver on the corporate vision and challenging your manager on an issue was seldom heard of and not supported.  

So, that’s how it was.  There were employees and there were managers.  Employees were just laborers to get the work done.  The only real positive side for the employees of yesterday compared to today is that they generally spent a lifetime at one company.  They didn’t walk around in constant fear of being laid off or having their position off-shored to another country.  Management made the rules without input from the employees and managed the company as the management team saw fit to do so. Read More→

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One of the required skills for business success is critical thinking and for a person to become truly proficient at the skill of critical thinking they must have a firm understanding of logical fallacies.  In short, logical fallacies are the many little spins, tricks, and smoke screens used by some people to make their argument stronger and credible.  While there are many logical fallacies that exist, this article will only take a closer look at three fallacies that are frequently used.  They are referred to here as Appeal to Ignorance, Appeal to Authority, and Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc.  All three of these fallacies are significant to critical thinking because they represent misleading notions and subsequently any decisions based on them could have negative effects.

Appeal to Ignorance is arguing on the basis of what is known and can be proven.  In short, if you can’t prove that something is true then it must be false and vice versa.  This logical fallacy actually received a lot of press during the early stages of the war in Iraq.  President Bush justified the invasion of Iraq because Iraq was believed to have weapons of mass destruction that were illegal and could end up in the hands of terrorists not unlike the people responsible for the World Trade Center attack on 9/11/2001.  The argument here was that since we had not found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq then there must not be any.  This very fallacy was the object of an article in the National Review on 6/30/2003.    Read More→

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Project management is the process of managing a project and a project is a unique, team oriented effort with a finite beginning and a finite end.  A project can be anything from creating a new revenue stream via product development, to reducing expenses via internal systems development, to planning a speaking engagement.  Due to the unique nature of project’s, they are not part of standard business operations, however, they do consume corporate resources.  Resources can include money, time, people, raw materials, facilities, and more.  These resources are known as the triple constraints of project management.

Today, project management is a crucial element for business success. Every year tens of billions of dollars are lost in the United States do to IT project failures alone. The skill set of a project manager must address the critical areas of project planning, scope management, cost and schedule control, change management, risk management, and communication.  The project manager is the team’s quarterback.  He is the first person blamed for project failure and ultimately the person who delivers bad news and is responsible for recovery plans.  The single greatest job of the project manager is that of communicator. Read More→

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Hello, and welcome to Project Victories!  This is the first post but certainly won’t be the last.  I have been letting many people, including students, know that this blog was coming.  It took longer than expected with my schedule and we are far from done, but as of this moment we are launching officially and you will be able to come back here regularly to look for new content.  Onward and upward!

As some of you may know this blog has been launched because of the numerous requests I have received over the years from many people, including students, for more content, more tools, better access to me, recommendations on products, Q&A, and, well, just more.  Teaching, consulting, and generally helping people with their businesses and projects is something I enjoy very much, so I know this is going to be a labor of love on my part.  This site will be evolving a bit still, probably through the summer, but please feel free to contact me regarding content and layout.  Furthermore, don’t hesitate to comment on articles or join in with the conversations that will inevitably take place on this site.  Oh, and additionally, sign up for our newsletter that will provide added content weekly via email as well as our RSS feed, if you use RSS.  The RSS feed is up now and the email newsletter sign up section is coming shortly.  Additionally, let’s don’t forget Facebook and Twitter, so make sure to friend us on Facebook and follow our tweets for up to the minute events.

While the name of our blog is Project Victories, our banner that includes the words “Your Path To Business Success” accurately explains the scope and depth we have planned for this effort.  This blog’s focus will be about anything business management related from business analysis, to business training, to project management, to logistics, and more.  That being said, business is made up of projects and processes and they must interact for successful business execution.  Processes are merely the day to day of business, while projects are unique efforts to create or modify processes that generate revenue or reduce costs.  Project Victories will be your one stop shop path to business success globally. Read More→

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