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Successful SAP Project Delivery
SAP Program Success

SAP Program and SAP Project Management can be tough.  In a recent Focus.com expert discussion the issue was raised about who a Project Manager or a Program Manager should be accountable to on business application projects.  Should it be the business or IT?  To help clarify the accountability I asked a simple question of what deliverables, metrics, and tasks would be required of the manager?  By knowing what the program or project manager(s) would be accountable for provides guidance to determine who they should answer to.  There was a nearly universal lack of response.  In other words, how do you measure PMO performance and how do you help to ensure results if you don’t even know what the individual, group, program, or business endeavor is going to use to measure accountability?

On this forum the most frequent response from the project and program managers was a call for “independence.” So when I raised the issue of project manager or program manager accountability, metrics, performance, and how to ensure project messes are avoided there were no takers. 

Is it any wonder so many business application projects and programs get into trouble, go over budget and time when the individuals responsible for coordinating and evaluating them don’t want clear accountability?

SAP Program and Project Management Office Success

A good Program or Project Management Office provides the resources needed for delivery project participants to be successful.  Without this focus the value of an SAP Program or SAP Project Management Office is not realized.  The U.S. Department of Energy did a good review of performance and benchmarking for project management.  And while this was applied to a government program there is a lot of valuable insight for any SAP project or business application project [FN1].  

The U.S. Department of Energy had a committee evaluate success criteria and offered four sets or categories of performance measures to cover the 30 possible discrete measurements of project or program success.  Those four sets or categories were [FN1, pg. 1]:

  • Project-level input / process measures. Assess the resources provided to deliver an individual project and the management of the project against standard procedures.
  • Project-level output / outcome measures. Assess the cost and schedule variables of an individual project and the degree to which the project achieves the stated objectives.
  • Program- and department-level input / process measures. Assess the total resources provided for all projects within a program or department and the degree to which program- and department-wide goals for projects and their management are met.
  • Program- and department-level output / outcome measures. Assess overall project performance and the effectiveness of completed projects in supporting program and department missions.

Without this type of analysis and evaluation your project may be headed for trouble before it even begins.  When you start your large business application project what type of deliverables, output, or results do you expect from those who are leading the projects?  How will you measure and evaluate their performance?  If your evaluation of their performance is focused on how well they support the success of delivery teams, along with how well the projects are delivered (budget, scope, schedule, and quality) then you will be measuring the key project delivery values for success.

Is it any wonder so many business application projects and programs get into trouble?  One key factor for why projects go over budget and time is because so many of the individuals responsible for planning and coordinating them don’t want clear accountability.

That same U.S. Department of Energy study provided guidance on the key components for a successful performance measurement system of program or project managers which can be applied to business software projects like SAP.  They noted key components of an effective performance measurement system include [FN1, pg. 7]:

  • Clearly defined, actionable, and measurable goals that cascade from organizational mission to management and program levels;
  • Cascading performance measures that can be used to measure how well mission, management, and program goals are being met;
  • Established baselines from which progress toward the attainment of goals can be measured;
  • Accurate, repeatable, and verifiable data; and
  • Feedback systems to support continuous improvement of an organization’s processes, practices, and results.

The Answer for SAP Program and SAP Project Management Results

Over the years I have found the SAP ASAP Methodology helps to ensure SAP Project delivery.  The entire methodology is focused on project participant success; budget, time, and scope control; and quality control for project delivery. 

My non-cynical assessment for why it is not more widely used is because many SAP Program Managers and SAP Project Managers have not be trained to use these tools (or Solution Manager which contains them).  On the other hand there are some SAP Project and Program Managers who have a financial motive that can not be ignored.  They do not use the ASAP Methodology because it makes a client less dependent on them.  After all, why do you need an expensive program manager to deliver tools, templates, resources, guidance, quality control, and measurement utilities if you have a methodology that already contains all of this with step by step instructions to use it?

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[FN1]  Measuring Performance and Benchmarking Project Management at the Department of Energy. http://management.energy.gov/documents/performance_measures_final.pdf

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Bill Wood
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Bill Wood contact

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One Response to “SAP IT Governance, SAP Program Management, SAP PMO Metrics”

  1. Bryan Oak says:

    Bill -great post thx.

    I would also propose that PMs don’t use ASAP because they have not been educated or trained in how to access and use the latest versions in SolMan. At its root, this situation exists because most long standing partners developed their own methodologies to provide (initial) differentiation and that’s what PMs are trained in, if anything. Few have gone back to re-assess the increased value from current ASAP versions.

    However, even of you do use ASAP, you will still need to use judgement and not ignore the people element for success – the individuals and the client/partner relationship are equally as, if not more critical than, the method.

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