Of the previous 5 tips I reviewed last week the first 3 are all related to project momentum. Let’s look at a key to maintaining that momentum while also reducing the impediments on your SAP project.
One SAP critical success factor for maintaining project momentum requires SAP project management that is fully integrated in the day to day project activities. That hands on approach to project management is one of the SAP best practices for overall project success. The tools, resources, and templates SAP provides is a key reason for Why to Use the SAP ASAP Methodology .
Unfortunately there aren’t very many SAP project or program managers who are engaged in the day to day project execution activities.
SAP Project Management Best Practices
“An SAP project manager or SAP program manager must focus aggressively on removing obstacles, encouraging success, and fighting against those things that would slow momentum” (SAP Project Manager – SAP Program Manager, Lessons from the Trenches):
- Develop project deliverable and task tracking tools that are simple, easy to understand, and forward looking. If a status tracking tool has more than 10 columns for a deliverable or particular task it is probably getting too involved, if it has over 15 columns (not task rows but details, status, and note columns) it will probably kill any momentum.
- Set, then communicate, then reinforce an expectation that anything slowing down project momentum must be raised by project members immediately.
- Create a formalized but simple decision escalation process. If any project execution process is overly complicated it will reduce momentum or not be used. This is especially true for decision making.
- All project activities MUST focus on execution because it is execution and action that maintain momentum.
- Keep the project focus FORWARD looking. Continue to communicate the timeline, and use presentations for all key upcoming project activities–, have templates, deliverables, and instructions in plenty of time for project members to transition to the new tasks (a RACI chart can help here).
A Key Psychological Affect on SAP Project Momentum
Some time back I read an interesting study by a researcher about high performance teams that consistently met “stretch” goals. The key difference between consistently high performing teams was in how they approached their assignments. High performance teams consistently looked ahead at what needed to be done next to achieve their goals. One of the interesting discoveries was when these same high performers were allowed to focus on their achievements and accomplishments their performance suffered. They discovered when people stop to reflect on how much they have achieved and how far they have come they tend to become more satisfied where they are and naturally slow down. That sense of achievement causes them to pause and become more content and therefore their forward looking productivity suffers. However, as we will explore next week, there are times this is an effective project strategy to reduce tension and stress.
Looking forward creates and sustains momentum
We see this all the time in the high performance area of professional sports. How many times have you seen a professional team start out strong and gain a lot of ground on their competitors only to ease up and then lose that ground by the end of the game. Sometimes these large gains are even erased and the other team wins! The team that started strong started to look at where they were and relaxed a bit while their opponents, who were behind, started to look ahead and focused on how to turn things around. The coaches and players of the team that was behind started looking ahead and planning for how to systematically win the game.
You SHOULD celebrate SAP project milestones and achievements but ONLY as a passing measurement point. Part of that celebration or recognition of a milestone must be about the passing of that mark and looking forward to, or celebrating, how the next upcoming milestone or major achievement will be met. You can also use these recognition events to relieve project stress and pressure at the appropriate times. Looking forward creates and sustains momentum.
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