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BW Project Management as Jigsaw Puzzle:

1) Similar to jigsaw puzzles: if one is familiar with jigsaw puzzles, then can move to increasingly difficult puzzles.  If one are familiar with BW (and R/3), can also go to increasingly complex scenarios since the chance of managing the complexity is better but if new to BW and R/3 might want to limit the complexity or allow more time to learn and redo some things.
2) BW projects are complex and highly technical projects – need at least some strong BW technical resource on each project.
3) BW projects does not work the same way as R/3 projects.  R/3 projects are more straight lines and more easily estimated whereas BW projects are more like a complex jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces need to fit together for it to work.  You first look to see what type of a picture you have (i.e. scope), the size of the pictures you have which you may get help from the size of the box (budget), assistance from people who have done it before or similar jigsaw (resources internal or external),  and when you need to finish since you might need the table for the next puzzle or a dinner party (deadlines or deliverables).  If not done correctly or something unexpected happens, the puzzle may have to be undone partially to complete it properly (rework), take it apart and start it again (re-implementation), or throw up your hand and throw it out (stop project).  Projects trade off scope, budgets, resources and timelines.
4) Building the boarder (foundation layer) can make it easier and faster to do things.
5) Different people can work on different parts of the puzzle (BW project / solution) but someone need to keep the overall picture in mind (data architect and/or technical team lead) while coordinating or managing who is doing what.  They need to be aware if someone puts a black or grey piece in the middle of the white pieces when it should not be there (off track) or if someone color blind is working with red/green (in the wrong role) or someone without their normal glasses is working with very similar and detailed pieces (careless or out of control).
6) The people working with the puzzle needs to know and be very clear about who has the overall responsibility and who is in charge (direction, communications, roles and responsibility).
7) There may be several interlocking puzzles that is separated or subdivided to smaller groups working on smaller sub-puzzles (different teams) but they have to fit together when the sub-puzzles are finished.
8) There is someone with a stopwatch that may be adding additional smaller puzzles (Expand scope / Change Requests) and/or taking dumped pieces away (refusing or pushing out scope creep) in view of the count down and speed or go back and ask for more time on the clock (Project Manager).  If all things being equal, something need to give if others added.
9) A person(s) is arranging for the room, tables, chairs, people or groups of people, and boxes of puzzles (IT Manager / IT Management) which may fit all together eventually into a large, overall picture. 
10) More hands may not necessary make it go faster since more time may be spent coordinating on how to complete the picture or fighting over the pieces.
11) Each person may have their own strengths and weaknesses but a good team working together can complement each other’s strengths and cover each others weakness.
12) Team building is important and stable teams with good team spirits are usually more productive.  But one cannot be afraid to reorganize the team or even do careful pruning if required when something is not working.
13) Sometimes it is good to have back up plans or options in your back pocket since it reduces risks.
14) Recognition for a job well done can go a long way.
15) If something goes significantly wrong, there should be a way to escalate or even blow the whistle for a timeout.
16) BW projects need more than just the number of resources to do the job but more the right number and mix of resources in the right roles at the right time to get the job done.

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4 Comments

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    1. Mary Huang Post author
      Thanks Gregor.  In trying to reply to your message, I found the “
      ” break tags which I had trouble remembering…
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  1. Arun Varadarajan
    It is often more difficult to develop BW when R/3 is also being implemented. Also as you mentioned finding data stewards who have a visibility over all systems is in many cases difficult. the jigsaw as you mentioned falls in place only if you know who owns the piece and how the piece behaves when placed along with other pieces. And more often than not , there will be cases where the data captured in R/3 would not suffice for BW and we would have to do some transformations on the same.
    I disagree on the hands on part since only if you have enough hands on can you understand the requirements and their implications. Also the biggest benefactor is for the data model.

    My 0.02…

    Arun

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