Merger

Don Kingsberry

On Labor Day, September 3, 2001, the press got wind of a planned merger between the Hewlett-Packard Company (HP) and Compaq Computer Corporation. The next day, HP formally announced its intention to merge with Compaq Computer in what would be the biggest technology merger in history. One week later, on September 11, 2001, a major terrorist attack occurred in the United States. About one month later, the families of the children of the founders of HP announced their opposition to the merger. HP management then had an uphill battle. The case wound up in a Delaware court case, which permitted the merger to go forward. After securing approval from the U.S. government and the European Union, HP management needed to win the votes of a majority of the shareholders and was ultimately successful in doing so. The merger was finally concluded, and the combined companies officially became one on May 7, 2002. A tremendous amount of planning and effort had gone in to making this merger a success. The merger planning and execution required a rigorous degree of program management and project management discipline.

There was a large challenge in defining the information technology (IT) projects required to support the new company and identifying those projects that needed to be stopped and the resources that needed to be moved to new work. At the outset of the merger,

HP established a merger integration office, and the global program management office (PMO) team had full-time resources assigned this effort.

The global PMO needed to categorize the projects to identify the most critical programs from those less important and to determine the prioritization by identifying which needed to be implemented first and to perform true portfolio management on a very large scale.

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