ASAP Methodology Background
In the mid 1990’s SAP had gained a significant amount of bad press and publicity around several high profile project disasters that the company knew were completely avoidable. At that time Oracle, Baan, JD Edwards, and PeopleSoft all had sales people making the case that SAP was too expensive, too complicated, and took too long to implement. In response SAP released the ASAP Methodology in the mid-late 90’s (around 1996 or 1997) because of the number of SAP projects that were going over time, over budget, and were at risk. It has been refined, polished, enhanced, and adjusted with SAP’s supported R&D resources and efforts for about 15 years now.
The ASAP implementation methodology has leveraged the PMI (Project Management Institute) best practices around project delivery and the Carnegie Mellon CMMI (Competency Maturity Management Integration) approach for maturing the delivery process. The ASAP methodology also includes a number of ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) components in the Phase 6 Run and the ValueSAP portions of the methodology. Agile techniques are an option which can be “turned on” if you like.
The toolset includes an implementation “Roadmap” which is a WBS based project template. It has full explanations, templates, tools, resources, checklists, etc. Together with that the original version also included an MS Access, and then an MS SQL Database application for selecting your solution options which would then generate a list of processes, transactions codes, template BPPs, and a full SAP centered Blueprint document, etc.
Today all of that functionality is still available but it is housed in Solution Manager. The ASAP Roadmap is just ONE component of the entire ASAP Methodology. The Roadmap is focused on effective Program or Project Management for accelerated project delivery with high quality results.
My Experiences with the SAP ASAP Methodology
I was originally certified in the ASAP Methodology in 1998 while at Grant Thornton. In that time I have had the privilege of using ASAP on several projects and as the project manager on a few. One consistent result of using the methodology is that projects are delivered and they are usually delivered on time and on budget (although not always).
Every major SAP system integrator claims some methodology and nearly all of them are similar to, or variations of the SAP ASAP Methodology.
I have only ever seen significant problems with ASAP when a system integrator started to use the methodology and then abandoned it part way through the project. At one recent client I used it as the framework to support a LEAN implementation methodology. That LEAN methodology has served as an ongoing framework to significantly accelerate numerous rollouts at probably 25% of the normal implementation cost of other SAP projects. This was driven by the client project manager and facilitated by using the ASAP tools.
Starting with the ASAP Methodology
Even before the first consultant comes on board the ASAP methodology provides templates and resources to cover key project and program management areas such as
- communication planning
- decision making
- risk management
- project management master planning
- resource planning
- steering committee tools
- external links to best practice resources for reference (PMI, ITIL, Internal SAP, etc., etc., etc.).
Why ASAP Instead of a System Integrator Methodology?
First, I have nothing against the system integrator methodologies and some are very good with great resources. Unfortunately my experience has been while they have them, and may start with them, they rarely stick to them throughout the project. Since it is their methodology you have little or no insight to cross-check or validate their methodology use. With ASAP it is yours to use as an SAP customer and you have full insight into it and control over its use.
One of the primary reasons for using the SAP ASAP Methodology is like all things SAP there has been a mountain of R&D spend, development, adjustment, and support. Every SAP client (large or small) who uses the ASAP methodology can avoid the “proprietary methodology lock-in” which the system integrators will walk out the door with. Another important reason is you own it as part of the standard Solution Manager offering.
As you probably know Solution Manager is already a required part of your SAP landscape. The SAP Solution Manager portion of the ASAP Methodology can house key items related to scope, configuration, documentation, the implementation roadmap, and all of the key deliverables. As the system integrator rolls off the project you have a centralized repository which is SAP specific for any future employees, support, upgrades, etc. You do NOT get that with a “custom” system integrator methodology which is probably based significantly on SAP’s ASAP Roadmap to begin with. Using an SI methodology you will NOT get the full configuration and development scope monitoring tools which Solution Manager contains either.
The entire ASAP Methodology is part of your application licensing and support you pay for. Why not at least take it for a test drive and see what it can do.
For more information on the SAP ASAP Methodology for SAP customers use your SAP OSS ID and log onto http://service.sap.com/asap .
Contact me today through our site contact form ( http://www.r3now.com/contact ), phone, or e-mail.
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