Agile SAP in action: Project Santa - the moment of truth!

17 January 2011

Philippa Holland

Philippa Holland

Founding Director

The view from the business owner

Project Santa is an ambitious internal project that incorporates the use of various SAP technologies in order to drive business change. The timescales are pretty tight so we decided to deliver this using agile methodology and blog the process. Check out last week’s update.

Well the big question from last week was...are we live yet? The answer is yes and no! For those of you that read the early updates of this blog series there were two parts to the project. 1) A mobile solution to enable consultants to enter their timesheets from their smart phones and 2) An on-line system for project planning and controls. This uses SAP Integrated Planning and is on what we believe to be, the first global BW 7.3 production system.

One down, one to go

I’m delighted to say that the mobile part of the project went live last week as planned. A solution for iphones, ipads and Android phones was realised to all our consultants globally that use one of these devices. There was some frantic last minute bug fixing going on and some late nights but initial user feedback seems very positive and as a user myself, I managed to enter my timesheet in about 3 minutes on Friday. Even if you have your laptop in front of you you’d struggle to log on to the portal and complete it this so quickly, especially if you have to actually turn anything on first.

Here’s a picture to show you what it looks like

PipBlog-MobileTimesheet


So what about the planning part of the project?

Unfortunately news wasn’t quite so good from the other part of the project - the planning side. There were just too many bugs from the UAT – and outside of our control – that couldn’t be fixed in time. The majority did stem from our upgrade to BW 7.3 and for many of the issues we had to rely on SAP to releases fixes. There were also some small changes to the scope that came out of the UAT. Had the team waited until after we had migrated all existing projects then the fix would have been a lot harder. So we decided to put off go-live until the system is robust enough and the tweaks ironed out.

Any good news?

Of course! Firstly I’m pleased to say and thanks to some very hard work by the team and some great service from SAP support all the major bugs have been fixed are now fixed. Additionally a  few small changes to the functionality should mean a more robust and powerful solution. And finally the extra week has given the team additional time to ensure the quality of the data to be migrated is good enough.

I’m told we should be migrating data from today and should be fully live from the middle of this week at the latest. Additionally as we actually used less resources early on than planned we will still come in within the project budget despite the delay.

So what have we learnt?

We’ve leant a lot but here are some examples of what we’ve learnt using agile methodology specifically...

  • Even on a short project that uses agile methodology you need to allow enough time between UAT and go-live. Planning in sprints seems to give more focus to the development time so this meant our test phase got squeezed.
  • For BI/Planning projects, especially the migration of solutions between systems, always takes longer than planned. Our schedule was spot on in terms of development time but light on testing and productionisation. At this stage its very difficult to try and make up the time.
  • If go-live is your top priority, avoid an upgrade in the middle of the project, especially to a new version of SAP. Personally I’d take a week’s delay in return for combining the two and avoiding a large regression test exercise down the line!

See next week for the what is hopefully the last blog in the series – this will focus on the business benefits/ROI of our solution.

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About the author

Philippa Holland

Founding Director

Diversity of people inspires new ideas.  One of the reasons why I co-founded Bluefin was to create a supportive environment where people – client and consultant – can come together to find answers to business and technical problems. 
 
Since 2002, I have been lucky enough to work with the world’s largest manufacturers such as Rolls Royce and Lafarge-Tarmac, helping clients win by giving them the most talented people in the industry.   Client success starts with our people.
 
We have won six “best place to work for” awards in just 11 years because we recruit and retain consultants that are passionate about learning and sharing their insights and ideas with clients.  This includes attracting university graduates into our sought-after annual recruitment programme.
 
When I’m not spending time engaging with our clients and consultants, I enjoy nothing more than socialising with family and friends. For relaxation, I try and take holidays in interesting places and watch a variety of sports, either live or from the comfort of my home.

Bluefin and SAP S/4HANA - welcome to the one horse race

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