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SAP Project Success

SAP Project Success

In all the years I’ve been involved with SAP I’ve often puzzled about what makes a really good project rather than some of the freak shows they call SAP projects.  After involvement in over 20 SAP projects I’ve seen a few of them go really well, a few that were more like horror shows, but most were mediocre.  I’ve often asked myself “Why?”  What makes the difference between a good project and one that is nothing short of a mess?

One key item that stands out is project management.  Even with the most talented and dedicated resources bad project management can ruin an otherwise great SAP project.

 

I don’t blame client project managers because if they had all of the resources they would not need outside help and guidance.

 

Before I get into this, let me define what I consider a “good” project.  A good project is one where there is a lot to do, but the stress level is not intense.  The timeline may be tight but it is achievable (maybe a little bit of a stretch).  The project is delivered on time, on budget, within scope and the result is high quality (a fairly smooth transition without a chaotic go-live).

Methodology Considerations for a Good SAP Project or SAP Program

The list below is from a synthesis of materials from SAP’s ASAP methodology, the PMI (Project Management Institute), and my personal experience over the years.  Much of this is contained in the SAP ASAP methodology in one form or another so you really have to wonder what any consultant is following if they claim to use it and these items are lacking.  In fact the latest ASAP Methodology version 7.1 includes a project start-up checklist to ensure key components are addressed.

Unlike several years ago when contract project managers had to rely on experience alone – the SAP ASAP Methodology is well-proven and mature today.

There are several key characteristics of a well managed SAP project which includes:

Early SAP Project or Program Management Activities (Before the Overall SAP Project is Fully Underway)

  • Success criteria defined and communicated for the project.
  • One of the first things that is defined for the project are the key roles, responsibilities, and tasks that will be performed by each participant group in the project.
  • A clear, definitive project plan with WBS elements, networks, and activities planned for every major work-stream throughout the entire timeline.
  • A clear list of deliverables, milestones, templates, and instructions on their usage are provided for the entire project.
  • Deliverables are clearly tied to project value rather than useless administrative exercises (value added activities) (see SAP System Vendor Project Success Criteria & Factors 1 scroll down to Sections 8 and 9).
  • Scope, time, issues, risk, cost, communication, and integration management plans, together with additional key components are defined.
  • Various standards for the project are defined and documented, including but not limited to business process, development, configuration, enhancement, transport management, testing, etc.

If you are using outside contract project management resources and  these items are not substantially in place by the time you start your project you will likely have your timeline and budget destroyed.  Along with the blown schedule and budget your project will also be a pressure cooker filled with stress, anxiety, and frustration. These are also characteristics you find when an SAP project manager or SAP program manager is not qualified.  The chaos, tension, stress, and confusion caused by their inability to coordinate the many moving parts of the project are a direct result of their lack of experience and ability.

I don’t blame client project managers because if they had all of the resources they would not need outside help and guidance.

The project should be delivered on time, on budget, within scope and with high quality…

Conclusion on Effective SAP Project or Program Management Practices

You are headed for a project disaster when a contract SAP project manager or SAP program manager fails to ensure the following items are in place early in the project:

  • responsibilities by group and role are defined,
  • deliverables are well laid out,
  • templates are properly prepared,
  • forward looking expectations are set,
  • coordination occurs between all project groups,
  • etc.

I’ve only ever been on a few projects when the SAP project manager or SAP program manager failed to produce a properly detailed project plan.  Every one of those projects had one thing in common, they were absolutely horrendously stressful, difficult, and took more time and cost more than necessary.  Along with the failure to produce a proper project plan the lack of proper deliverables, proper roles and responsibilities, and all of the other things a good project plan would help you define were also missing.  If this happens to you FIRE those contractors, you are being bled dry and are headed for a budget and timeline disaster.

For much more detail on what happens when you have bad contract SAP project managers or SAP program managers see the post Some Reasons SAP Projects are Over Budget and Over Time.

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Contact me today through our site contact form ( http://www.r3now.com/contact ), phone, or e-mail.

Bill Wood
+1 (704) 905 – 5175
Bill Wood contact

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One Response to “Effective Results from SAP Project Managers – SAP Program Managers”

  1. Hi Bill,

    Let me start by admitting I am a SAP functional guy so I have written a few spec’s. However, I have been given the opportunity to help write a SAP Scope Document for MM and PP modules; do have a resource for sample scope docs or templates of some good scope documents.

    Kind regards,

    David Norman

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