Integrating Remote Teams Post-Acquisition

Daniel Marashlian

Co-founder & CTO at Portfolium



My start-up, Plixi, was acquired by a company called Lockerz. While Lockerz was also a start-up, it was a little bigger with around 50 employees, whereas Plixi had only had 8 employees. After the acquisition, there was a need to integrate the two software teams, but they were in two different cities, with the Plixi team in San Diego and the Lockerz team based in Seattle. At first, everyone was very excited by the acquisition. However, overtime, jealousy and conflict started to grow in the teams.

Actions taken

"When the product stories sent to the San Diego team were in isolation of the legacy product, these worked out really well, and we delivered the improvements to the product at high rate of success."

However, there was a little jealousy and built up tension, as the team in Seattle was more responsible for maintaining the old code and old site, while we got to work on new and exciting features. Communication broke down and it started to feel like we were competing against the Seattle dev team.

While the managers were focused on the company itself, the devs were more likely to be in conflict. We decided we needed to invest some more money in flying teams to see each other, both in San Diego and Seattle, and we rented a big beach house for everyone to stay in to get to know each other. Luckily, our founder had a beautiful property on Orcas Island, and we flew the entire dev team there once a quarter to have product/tech offsite meetings.

Once we started encouraging communication, face-time, and integration, the teams started to be more willing to collaborate with one another and work on projects together. If two of the engineers were working on APIs, and one was in Seattle and the other was in San Diego, we would fly one of them to the other, so they could work alongside one another. The team started getting along better, and we started building much faster.

Lessons learned

"From a culture building standpoint, when you have remote workers, it can hurt the team a little if you never have them meet."

Even when the company is running low on money, you need to find a way to budget travel in, so teams can collaborate effectively together. This is especially important for special events, as it helps to make people feel like they are a part of the team.

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Daniel Marashlian

Co-founder & CTO at Portfolium

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