• Project Management

by Oliver Schmid

In this section I would like to share my experiences as a Project Manager specific to SAP. Some of the points and comments will be very specific to SAP but others are also valid for other projects.

A SAP roll-out in very basic terms consists of 3 different areas, which are:

  1. People
  2. Processes
  3. Technology
Where number 1 – People – is one of the most critical issues, without undermining the importance of the other 2 areas. Many projects fail due to people, for reason like:
  • Lack of senior management support – Every Project needs a Sponsor that has the final decision making authority and supports the project in its entire.
  • Not enough key-user input or key-users are not taken serious by project consultants. Often key-users participate on this projects on top of their regular duties, in which case the project gets neglected and decisions are left up to consultants, who may not completely understand the impact of their decisions.
  • Attention to existing and new processes. People have often a hard time to change or even abandon existing processes for new improved processes.
  • Lack of testing all processes as detailed as possible considering all scenarios.
  • Inadequate training of key-users and end-users
  • Lack of or improper communication. 
  • Lack or inadequate leadership. It is important to have a project manager that has the ability to build and control the project team. The PM must understand the risks to the project and even more important the risk to the business. 
It is important to remember that a successful Project consist of:
  • Good and successful Project Manager that is accepted by his/her project team members, management and sponsor(s). A PM that ensures that a project stays on time and within budget, while bringing the intended benefits to the organization.
  • Pre-start awareness of the project to the whole organisation. It is the Sponsor(s) responsibility to “sell” the project and to get the buy-in of everybody.
  • A thoroughly planned road-map and project plan that is understood and signed off by all involved in the project.
  • Timely execution, communication and support of key-users, consultants, management and sponsor(s).
Important Roles in a Project:
Sponsor(s): Project initiation – This person ensures that the project is important to the organization. Sells and supports the project to the rest of the organization. Helps to identify constraints and risks. Final decision maker. May provide resources.
Project Manager (PM): Leading the project team and make sure the objectives of the project get accomplished. A PM develops a detailed project plan. This person is responsible to build a project team and to develop and motivate the project team. A PM keeps stakeholders and other involved parties informed of the project developments.
Stakeholder(s): Stakeholder is a person that has an interest in the outcome of a project. A stakeholder gives valuable feedback to the project manager.
Consultants: Assisting the PM with their individual skills and area/module specific knowledge. The consultant has the knowledge and ability to perform process analysis. The consultant assists the PM in budget planning. The consultant has the responsibility for the project of his/her expertise, delivering its promises on schedule and within budget. The consultant must have the necessary technical expertise.
Key-Users: Participates full or part time in the project. A key user has knowledge of all the processes  in his/her field. The key users is important and will work with the consultant on analyzing and/or modifying existing business processes or develop new business processes.
The key-user responsible to test all processes (existing & new) in its entire and signs off on all successfully tested processes. The KU may be responsible to develop a training plan and train the end-users.

 


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