Home > Side conversations, Software Engineering > Put yourself first by taking the last place (how to sleep well at night after being acquired)

Put yourself first by taking the last place (how to sleep well at night after being acquired)

Software is a highly rewarding, yet an intensely competitive business.   The rules are simple:  grow, become extinct, or be acquired.   There are very few software companies that manage to idle for a prolonged period of time.

When one software company acquired another, every employee wants to know, “Will I have a job in the new organization?”

One of my clients (a growing software company) purchased one of their competitors.  It wasn’t difficult to see why the company being acquired could not compete:

– There was evidence that some members of the sales team were more interested in making commissions than solving customer problems

– There was a lot of tension between Product Management and Engineering executives.  The product development team was busy justifying why it could not deliver certain functionality instead of understanding what was required to deliver a world-class product and then proposing the right budget

But the product was very well-engineered by some very talented and passionate software engineers.    All of these engineers – despite the post acquisition uncertainty in the air – continued to operate without being concerned.    All of them exhibited what I call the Golden Rules:

1.  Customers come first;  their pain is our personal pain

2.  Product comes second;  our business is to make an incredible product which makes the customer pain go away in a sustainable manner

3.  Then comes the team:  no one can succeed alone;  the enemy is outside – not inside

4.  Then come my own priorities

It became very clear why this acquisition was a bargain.  In addition to purchasing a well engineering product, the company also acquired an engineering team which lived and breathed the Golden Rules.

This team and its culture became the foundation for a new product strategy that will comfortably leave the competition behind.   To answer the question raised earlier:  every engineer in the acquired company had a job and never looked back.

Always practice the Golden Rules … and sleep well at night.

  1. Nadya
    May 20, 2010 at 9:49 am

    It’s pretty much so! I think these Gold rules and the reasons why a company being acquired are applicable to any IT Business company.

  2. September 2, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    It’s very much true Leon, I do accept your thoughts, the golden rules where very informative and a yardstick when it comes to performance evaluation in an IT company……

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