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SAP Project Management SAP project management can feel routine, but the stakes couldn’t possibly be higher. If the project is planned and executed correctly, the client gets a one-of-a-kind landscape, tailored to their business needs, with very little disruption. They’ll be more agile, more productive, and more profitable.

But when SAP implementations fail, the client faces costly delays and downtime, ongoing problems with performance and stability, or even a forced rollback to their old landscape. Fortunately, SAP project management is a mature field that doesn’t depend on luck or last-minute heroics — with knowledgeable partners and good planning, your SAP project will succeed.

SAP Project Management — Planning for Success

SAP Project Management Requires a Proactive Technical Partner

Just because a provider has the necessary subject matter expertise doesn’t mean they have the skills to lead the project. Successful SAP project managers need a well-thought out methodology, and the experience to back it up. Ask SAP project management potential partners to explain their project management process from inception to steady state, and provide examples or project case studies.

Your partner’s SAP project management process should be transparent, and incorporate regular project reviews, conducted in a timely and open manner. Look for a project manager who emphasizes the importance of engaging all stakeholders — including various departments in the client’s organization and the functional partner.

Emphasize Technical SAP Project Management

SAP project management teams often focus on the functional components of the project, but overlook the details of the technical implementation. Everything looks great in development, but as the team moves closer to go-live, they face an ever-growing catalog of unpleasant surprises, and the project gets bogged down in rework and delays.

What’s the problem? SAP landscapes are highly integrated, with dependencies and interoperability requirements that impact SAP project management planning and orchestration.

In particular, projects often lose track of external touch points outside of SAP, such as banking interfaces, tax systems, FTP servers, and remote employees. To avoid delays, your SAP project management team needs to account for every system and stakeholder in your production environment. This requires a rigorous technical approach, and close collaboration between technical and functional partners to make sure nothing is left out.

SAP Project Management Should Leave Nothing Unsaid

It’s never a good idea to list tasks at a high level and expect that everyone involved understands the interdependencies. SAP implementations, upgrades and migrations are complex and technology-intensive. No matter how good your team is, there will be misunderstandings if your SAP project management plan isn’t worked out in detail. That means including resources from both the client and partner perspective in architectural review early on, to translate the various networking, infrastructure, security, and functional components into the overall plan.

Your SAP project management team also needs a formal process to handle change management as the project proceeds. Follow an iterative approach, with post mortems conducted at each phase.

As you approach the end, your approach needs to get even more rigorous. If at all possible, execute a mock go-live iteration that simulates the exact steps that will be taken for production down to the exact timings, and incorporate it into the cut-over plan. Sure, it’s a hassle — but it’s the best way to ensure that everything goes as planned, and nothing is left to chance.

SAP Project Management Experience Matters

As a Basis managed services and hosting provider, Symmetry has deep roots in the interworking of SAP landscapes. Our SAP project management team has years of real world experience, backed up with an industry-leading SAP certification and continuing education program that keeps our consultants on the cutting edge. With all the necessary technical resources under one roof, Symmetry can manage projects effectively, meeting aggressive implementation timelines with the minimum possible disruption.

Contact us to learn more about how our SAP project management team can help you plan for success.

Dave Hall, Director of Professional Services

Dave Hall is the Director of Professional Services at Symmetry where he is responsible for on-boarding and managing many of Symmetry’s key and most complex Clients. Dave has been in the information technology business for over 30 years - managing teams responsible for everything from international systems implementations, SAP data center migrations and Basis managed services. Dave leverages his diverse experience to provide superior customer service to Symmetry Clients from the initial on-boarding process through ongoing steady state managed services.