In today’s competitive world, agility is critical to the success of many businesses. Organisations applying Agile Methodology to their work are achieving greater productivity by replacing rigid and inflexible processes with dynamic and iterative development approaches.
Traditional waterfall delivery approaches contain significant flaws and ignore key elements in the reality of today’s complex business environments:
- Requirements change and evolve during the timeframe of a typical project or programme.
- Organisations demand a more rapid ROI and aren’t prepared to invest for a year or more without seeing a return.
- Users struggle to articulate their underlying requirements. Thinking is constrained by current processes and a lack of understanding of both the ‘art of the possible‘ and the technology change implications on the business.
- Buy-in and engagement becomes key where technology becomes focused on white collar and knowledge workers. Traditional change management techniques struggle to deliver high levels of user uptake.
...and yet organisations...
- don’t like uncertainty, especially as SAP projects are often business critical and risk adverse
- want agreed deliverables
- find it hard to get away from signed-off detailed design
- are concerned about creating inter-dependencies across enterprise environments
Using the right methodology for the right project is essential. So our approach is always aligned to a customer’s individual business objectives. It combines a focus on ROI with business buy-in and the minimising of risk with the flexibility to respond to changing needs.
Bluefin’s 3 key principles
Collaboration: Experience tells us that the most successful SAP projects are typically business-led. However, this can be difficult to achieve, as projects are often initiated and run by IT. Projects must reflect the interests of the business.
- Striking the right balance between the business, IT and the Bluefin project team is essential. It enables the project team to hit the ground running and deliver quality results quickly.
- Strong internal project management and sponsorship is essential. Additionally, regular communication, agreed project checkpoints and demonstrations can avoid delays and additional costs.
To engage business users in the process of developing a systems solution, they must be involved early on.
- Demonstrating the process using demos, playbacks, mock-ups and storyboards brings the solution alive and allows the team to openly discuss gaps and issues and avoid misinterpretations.
- Integration of user needs means rework is minimised, as users are involved in key decisions from the outset, and have access to the solution earlier. So when they sign-off a design, it’s one they have used and fully understand.
In today’s fast changing world, business change can impact project priorities. Flexibility to respond to changing requirements, adjust scope and re-evaluate priorities is essential.
- Iteration is used throughout process development and, where possible, in the way functionality is delivered to the business, i.e. in iterative drops.
- It can achieve a rapid ROI as users have access to live functionality as early as possible. This is seen particularly in areas like BI.
We use our three principles throughout the project, but they are particularly key during a prototype. Whenever possible we will run a prototype phase as, in our experience, this can jump start the project and lead to a more successful final outcome.
The prototype is typically a two-month process that builds standard system processes on your systems to run those processes that are key to the success of your project. We have a proven approach to understanding and prioritising those processes that need to be included – of course this priority is driven by the importance of this functionality to the business; but it may also be driven by how technically complex it is and how important it is to prove that it works.
Application of the three principles during a prototype phase
To minimise risk across enterprise projects, Bluefin Solutions has aligned to AcceleratedSAP (ASAP) with scope for agility throughout key project phases.
Using agile with ASAP