About company acquisitions
January 2015 · Riga, Latvia · comments
Big corporations have acquired two companies I worked for. Do I have bad karma and attract trouble? Well, probably.
In this post, I will express how company acquisition feels to a regular employee.
Seriously, shut up. It’s OK to have face-to-face meetings with me as an attempt to build trust, but you better listen now. Don’t tell me that together we will become the next Facebook. I am here precisely because we’re not Facebook. If I wanted to work for Facebook, I would not work here.
Don’t brag in order to build trust. I don’t care about your experience managing a large-scale 100x million user project. It is the team’s achievement anyway, and your involvement is not clear to me. What if you were continually demotivating the team? What if those folks could achieve much more with another leader? I just noticed that all your LinkedIn endorsements come from managers only… Yikes!
We’re different. We’re not Facebook. We’re not another “reactive high-scale multi-million-worth platform.” I don’t want you to replicate your past experience here. I want you to understand, save, and respect our culture, values, and legacy.
Even though acquisition decision is not “my level,” I want to know the real story behind it; otherwise my mind will come up with a story you don’t like. My imagination is very creative. Tell me the real story. Probably that story you’ll tell is much better than I’ve imagined. I’d even accept if you say that you are here solely because of money. Honestly, I don’t expect you to tell me everything. Just don’t fucking lie.
Don’t blame management
You want to cut the current management from the roaster. But we’ve been here with the current management from the early beginning. I even know their families personally. I was here when you were not. You’re new here, so don’t tell me that “starting from now things will be better.” You will never get credit by blaming your predecessor. Just one drop of criticism thrown into my friends’ direction and you’re dead. When I take place in management, I will get rid of you because you blamed someone I care about. Probably you’ll be the first candidate for firing on my list.
… and then you go:
Let’s use Scrum and switch to JIRA
Man, stop it. We already have a software development process and tooling everyone is happy with. It’s not because we’re not open to change. We are. I just want you to keep your horses, and understand our current approach, philosophy, and principles behind it, become part of it, work closely with the team.
I will reject your ideas and change proposals if you keep pushing your stuff, before understanding how things currently work.** It’s so much easier to suggest solutions when you don’t know too much about the problem.
But you keep asking —
How can we make the process more transparent?
Well, our process is OK. What did you do to see more? I haven’t ever seen you attending our daily stand-ups.
Fire with respect.
You’ve just fired someone with vision other than yours and made a spectacular show out of it with scenes of a public hanging. I don’t want to be hanged. Gossiping people in the kitchen are now afraid to be hanged. Who is going to be hanged next? Probably it’s me because I leave the office at 17:45 to pick my children from a kinder garden. I’ll better update my CV.
I expect you to let people go with respect. Hanging people is not OK. Making people “magically” disappear without notice is not OK. Sorry, I will never suggest friends to work here.
Keep our stuff.
You’ve acquired us because we’re damn good at something. Likely even better than you are. So why do you impose usage of your corporate processes and tools that never worked well at your company? Why do we need annual performance reviews, big up-front planning, and Microsoft Teams?
Is it because you want to make our life more complicated, you, corporate monster? You’re eating our identity. I wish you learned and embraced our agility. But instead, you are adding Scrum Masters, HR, and product managers at the speed of light.
Me: “By the way, who’s that guy?”
They: “It’s our new product manager”
Me: “But who are these two guys next to him?”
They: “Our product owner and program director”
Me: “Who will decide on product priorities?”
My team would benefit from a good UX specialist. But who cares now? They hired a product owner with ten years of experience in the adult porno business.
There is one more thing that bothers me now.
I don’t know why do you spend so much time with my team leader in the meeting room. Do you discuss my performance? Are there any secrets?
How great it would be if you could invite the whole team, listen to us, let us exchange ideas, help us implement them. Secrecy in the air makes me feel so uncomfortable. My team loses integrity. I feel totally disconnected. Maybe it’s not a team anymore.