INNOVATE. INTEGRATE. TRANSFORM.

Business Solutions with SAP

SAP Customer Responsibility for SAP Project Success

April 23rd, 2012 by

SAP Success Criteria Formula

SAP Success Criteria Formula

 

Some time ago I put together a synthesis of SAP success criteria based on academic literature and my own personal experience.  The table below is part of the list of SAP Success Factors for Vender Selection – Responsibility Matrix. For a more detailed explanation of each of the vendor related items see the posts listed in the Series on SAP ERP Project Success Factors.

In the prior series we went through SAP success factors with shared responsibilities between the company adopting the SAP application and the integrator they use for the implementation (listed below) but today we will briefly review customer-specific success items (further down).

No. SAP or ERP Critical Success Factor Company Integrator
1 Senior Management Support (and steering committee makeup) A  
2 SAP project champion A  
3 Empowered business project team decision makers A  
4 Company SAP project team (quality and time allocated) A  
5 Experienced SAP consultants   A
6 SAP project success criteria, goals and objectives A  
7 SAP implementation strategy z A
8 SAP project management A z
9 SAP tools, templates, and resources   A
10 SAP scope development z A
11 SAP scope management A z
12 Strong SAP project and business communication (inward and outward) A z
13 SAP change management A z
14 Business process engineering – interdepartmental cooperation A  
15 Sufficient SAP training (user and project team training) A A
16 SAP system vendor and customer trust   A
17 SAP system design decisions z A
18 Amount of custom ABAP or other SAP coding z A
19 Appropriate SAP software configuration (system settings) z A
20 SAP system change control process   A
21 SAP data analysis and conversion A z
22 SAP test planning A z
23 SAP test development z A
24 Company end-user involvement and end-user testing A  

Legend

A = Primary responsibility
z = Secondary responsibility (can influence success but limited control over success)

——————————

The previous series did not address several of the customer-specific items where organizations should focus internal efforts.  As part of the recent series on Organizational Change Management Inside the SAP IT Support Organization it is time to consider the SAP customer specific items now.  That list of items includes:

No. SAP or ERP Critical Success Factor Company Integrator
1 Senior Management Support (and steering committee makeup) A  
2 SAP project champion A  
3 Empowered business project team decision makers A  
4 Company SAP project team (quality and time allocated) A  
6 SAP project success criteria, goals and objectives A  
14 Business process engineering – interdepartmental cooperation A  
24 Company end-user involvement and end-user testing A  

1.  SAP Project Senior Management Support – 2. SAP Project Champion

You just can’t overlook strong senior leadership support and a strong project champion for SAP project success.  If the wider organization perceives it is important enough for executive leadership they will see that it is a key initiative to focus on.  The Real Reason Executive Participation Creates IT Project Success is related to the nature of their position which deals with corporate strategy. The enterprise also needs an SAP project champion to help cut through red tape, encourage organizational support, and marshal additional resources when needed.  The best project champion would be at least one NON-IT executive so this isn’t seen as “just another IT thing.”  The contribution of a well respected and strong internal leader can not be overlooked.

3.  Empowered Business Process Team Members to Make Key Business Decisions About SAP Setup

If you want your SAP project to make any progress then it is absolutely critical to ensure core team members from the business are able to make many of the important process decisions. There will be some decisions that have more widespread organizational impact and the business users will need more senior level managers to make some decisions.  For example one of the key reasons for Using Your SAP Steering Committee for Business Transformation is to help mentor, guide, and direct business project participants in designing the future state business.  This would include making “critical decisions which the project team is unable to resolve (escalations or key business decisions).”  On the other hand if they are so compliant or risk averse that they will not make any decision without gaining consensus you may be headed for problems with the project timeline and budget.  This doesn’t mean you need an autocrat either, just someone who has enough organizational insight and connections to make the right decisions, escalate the ones that should be escalated, and has an open line of communication to keep interested stakeholders in the loop.

4.  Business Process Team Members who are DEDICATED to the SAP Project Delivery and Success

Too often I see core SAP project team members, whether from the business or the internal IT organization, who are not assigned exclusively to the SAP project.  While they are given the new role they often still have their “day job” to continue overseeing and managing.  This is a significant distraction from a very serious undertaking.  When an SAP project is done effectively, and what I call “correctly,” there is significant business change that takes place.  To help manage that change and to ensure business users have their needs most properly represented requires a full commitment to the SAP project.

Unfortunately there are a lot of system integrators who are happy to have your business users commit to just “part time” on the project.  It helps the system integrator increase their billing, allows for lots of excuses for missing dates, and provides them the opportunity to push any solution they deem you should have.  Because core team members from the enterprise have divided attentions they can not ensure the same level of quality if the SAP project were their only focus.

6.  SAP project goals and success criteria

I was recently reading an article where a study of several hundred companies who had implemented enterprise applications were asked about having defined business related goals and success criteria.  The referenced study suggested only 4% of companies who implement enterprise applications complete the entire process of defining goals and success criteria and then actually follow up on seeing that they achieved the promised benefits. 

To achieve Sustained Business Value from SAP Business Software it is important to incorporate a Change Management Program within the SAP / IT Organization itself which is focused on Achieving Business Value from SAP Investment.  Another key part of the goals and success criteria is to Change How You Look at SAP to Create ROI because SAP Implementation is an Investment NOT an Event.

14.  Business process engineering – interdepartmental cooperation

 This is directly related to the first 3 items in this list:

  • Senior Management Support (and steering committee makeup)
  • SAP project champion
  • Empowered business project team decision makers

Because of the nature of the integration in SAP some of the data entry responsibilities change, for both upstream and downstream process steps which may be in different departments.  There are also significant process changes and responsibility changes as a result of the SAP implementation.  All of these require a focus on processes, communication, and cooperation.  Because this can also be an area of political “friction” between departments or leaders it is critical to have a strong executive SAP project champion. That executive sponsor can help to reduce a some of the inter-departmental “border wars.”

24.  Company end-user involvement and end-user testing

Even a great implementation effort can turn into a painful disaster at go-live if end users are not prepared to use the new system, security and authorizations are a mess (VERY typical), and testing was not thoroughly performed.  Unlike other systems which were built in silos and without the level of integration a data or process mistake that is not uncovered during testing can have significant up and downstream effects.  Unwinding and correcting the error can prove to be very challenging.

For all of these items I only touched the surface, but none of these items can be ignored and are important for a successful SAP project.  Every one of these items is completely within the control of the enterprise or organization who implements SAP.  Good luck on your SAP journey but be sure to pay special attention to all of these success criteria for your SAP project which are provided in more detail in the Series on SAP ERP Project Success Factors.




Popular Searches:


  • sap project management
  • sap governance manager
  • critical information of sap erp
  • SAP Management Team
  • sap project delivery goals
  • SAP project management office
  • SAP PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLS
  • SAP software project management success
  • scope management success factors
  • the ES SAP project to be successful
  • What are some of the factors involved with scope and how do they relate to senior management?
  • comman risk in sap projects
  • sap customer responsibility
  • role of project manager as the integrator between the vendors team and the customers team
  • common sap project outcomes

Related Posts:

SAP IT Governance, SAP Program Management, SAP PMO Metrics

January 9th, 2012 by
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?

==============

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




Popular Searches:


  • sap pmo
  • PMO Processes and Procedures sap
  • project governance sap
  • SAP IT Governance
  • sap metrics
  • SAP pmo acquisition integration
  • SAP PMO structure
  • SAP Program Performance Metrics
  • sap project report metrics

Related Posts:

More SAP Project Leadership Tips for Managing Conflict

November 28th, 2011 by

Managing SAP Project Momentum, Stress, and Conflict

Managing SAP Project Conflict

If you are determined to gain and then maintain SAP project momentum you will see stress.  Part of the requirement for momentum includes asking people to reach for stretch goals which can challenge (and deepen) their capabilities but also causes tension and even conflict.

One author says conflict is “a situation of competition in which the parties are aware of the incompatibility of potential future positions and in which each party wishes to occupy a position which is incompatible with the wishes of the other.” [FN1] 

In plain English, conflict happens when there are competing expectations and priorities.  Put another way, I want what I want and you want what you want and the level of our conflict depends on just how much each of us wants “it”.

Without hands on, active SAP project management it is likely that stress and conflict will destroy your SAP project momentum.  Active SAP project management is not about micromanaging people or their activities but rather finding the right balance around task execution and delivery while working through the stress that will arise.  As a project manager part of your key responsibility is to work through conflict to maintain momentum.  At its most basic project SAP project management is like babysitting adults who at times act like squabbling children (and I’ve been guilty of childish squabbling as well at times!).

Key Phases of SAP Project Stress Which Can Create Conflict

In relation to physical and life stress Canadian Physician Hans Selye (1907 – 1982) proposed 3 stages of stress in his 1956 book “The Stress of Life”: 

  • Alarm
  • Resistance
  • Exhaustion

On an SAP project the alarm or panic stage occurs when you attempt to create a rapid project delivery pace.  The resistance stage occurs when the alarm does not slow down or stop the momentum that is gaining. Exhaustion or “checking out” can occur when the stresses and pressures of an overly aggressive timeline continue beyond what the project participants are able or willing to deliver.  A good SAP project manager must carefully evaluate and then manage the source(s) of alarm and resistance.

The key to good SAP project management is to maintain a sense of urgency that is strong enough to keep momentum high but no so urgent or so stressful that it causes people to burn out or check out.

There is a healthy level of tension which is needed to keep momentum going but knowing where that line is requires a project manager to be directly engaged with the project participants.  Even though it is critical to gain and then maintain momentum at times you also have to know when to ease up to allow the stress level to moderate. 

It is equally important for a project manager to know whether the alarm and resistance are from unskilled project participants who are trying to hide their lack of experience, or from unrealistic demands, or from the project as a whole. 

At First Most People Try to Deal With SAP Project Stress in a Productive Manner

Regardless of the reason for the stress, and ultimately what the conflict is, most people do attempt to mitigate the initial source of the stress.  The research shows they may:

  1. apply extra effort to compensate for the greater demands,
  2. they may attempt to overcome the stress by fixating on the task(s) which create the stress, or,
  3. they may become anxious, worry, and then avoid the tasks.

If a project manager is skilled and recognizes these signs they can quickly intervene and help to alleviate the source of the stress.  Although it is critical for momentum to keep a forward looking perspective throughout the project there are times it is more productive to pause, reflect, and allow stress levels to lower.  When you see tension and stress building to an unhealthy level it may be time for a special recognition of how much progress has been gained to help people regain a sense of perspective and give them a chance to “take a breath.”

A good SAP project manager must carefully evaluate and then manage the source(s) of alarm and resistance.

Knowing when to back off the gas and recognize accomplishments and when to press the gas and push ahead is the most difficult skill for any project manager to develop.  It is like a professional race car driver who must know when to step on the gas, when to let off, when to apply the brakes, and when to step back on the throttle.  A project manager who is able to perform that balancing act demonstrates their experience and their people skills.  This requires direct engagement with the project participants on a day to day basis. 

This type of engagement by the SAP project manager needs to be in the project participants’ work environments, not just in planned meetings where people may not be as candid or forthright.  That direct engagement requires the project manager to serve as an active umpire, counselor, decision-maker, expediter, and all around gopher to help coordinate many of the integration activities. 

A Good SAP project manager GENUINELY UNDERSTANDS that their success depends on every other project participant’s success and will directly engage in activities which help promote the success of project participants.  Sometimes this means giving some project participants the opportunity to be successful on a different project  :)

As a final thought, an SAP project manager who needs a separate “integration manager” should be more carefully considered.  It may be necessary but do you really need a Microsoft Project administrator or a meeting monitor or do you need a manager for your project?  Needing an “integraton manager” may be a way to avoid the day to day involvement that is critical for SAP project success.

============

[FN1]  Capozzoli TK. Conflict resolution-a key ingredient in successful teams. Supervision (60:11), 1999, pp 14-16

Related Posts: