As companies expand through mergers and acquisitions, there is a need to make sure the testing department can come together and work as a cohesive unit. This can be easy or it can be extremely challenging for your team. I recently left a company that had acquired 4 companies. The company did this in the period of 6 years. Integrating systems is complicated enough but bringing in such diverse cultures is extremely challenging.
The first two acquisitions went really pretty well. The companies we acquired had similar testing departments and adapted to the company processes. After the second acquisition, we integrated the systems of all three companies into one. I had the difficult job of letting part of my team go after those systems were consolidated. The third and fourth acquisitions are still a work in progress and in my opinion have a very long way to go. The unfortunate thing is the company we acquired was 3x as large and headed for bankruptcy, and yet most of the new processes are from the bankrupt organization. There is a clear lack of understanding how to operate efficiently and how to manage within those parameters. Acquisitions can make or break companies, and in this instance, this has broken the culture and the reason why the company was able to acquire the larger one. There is also significant debt which affects how the company can operate in the future.
It was great experience to be a part of an acquisition and I was able to learn a lot. I started with 7 testers and at the peak I was managing 241. The lack of the original culture was one of the primary reasons why I left a company I truly loved to work for. Another reason was I had 6 bosses in 7 years and I felt that another reorganization would happen at some point and I would have to reprove myself all over again. I miss working with people that I had spent many hours working closely together. I will be curious to see how the company does in the upcoming years.
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