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Agile SAP: VCD session slides and feedback

Last Thursday was my first webcast at SDN: Agile SAP, Mission Impossible? The replay is, just as the other sessions, available here on SDN. With a webcast it is a kind of difficult to interact with the people that are connected. Known pitfall is then to start talking faster and faster. I sure hope that the message got through. And for those who want to view the presentation again – it is available via SlideShare:

During the session some questions arose in the chat window.

  • Use cases instead of user stories: We thought that user stories are very well applicable to web environments. But in our situation we also had a lot of backend functionality and processes to be realized. Therefore we decided to model everything with use cases.
  • Bigger size teams (>=100): Our team developed 1/3 of the total solution. The other teams did not work according to scrum. But if they did there is a scrum of scrums approach to share the information of all the scrum teams. Dagfinn Parnas: “scrum does scale very well, but it does require some extra thought with regards to organization, tools etc. Craig Larman has a few good books on the topic.
  • Using Scrum with non collocated teams: We were all located together, one of the biggest advantages for the project to minimize communication issues. So no experience yet. With online dashboards and nowadays conference call possibilities it can be made a success. As long as you keep to the basics of the approach: Working together during all phases of a sprint. I am curious to hear on experiences using Scrum and an offshore team.
  • How did the SAP team work together? An ABAP developer will not do CRM customizing. That’s for sure. But everybody can help designing the solution, documenting and testing it. All team members are expected to help each other. We saw some pair programming activities during the project: CRM and ABAP consultant working together.
  • Resourcing scrum team: A project running at high speed needs a team that is almost 100% available. If not, people will miss a lot and have to catch up every time when they are back. Make sure that people that enter the team somewhere during the project that they get a proper introduction on how business is done within the scrum team.

Links to more information to read about Agile and SAP:

Best advice according to attendee Harald Reiter: Go out and do it!

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  • I’ve looked at using Agile methods in development, but one block is that it doesn’t seem to apply to a validated environment, because the procedures required to qualify a system, cut across the whole paradigm and prevent the flexibility required.

    Have you ever seen Agile methods applied in such a controlled environment?

    • Hi Matthew
      Don’t know if I understand you correctly. Sorry for that. In my belief an agile approach can always work as long as long as you have the right participants in your team. And I do not only mean technically, it is even more important to have business participation in your team. This will help losing your longlasting review processes as business is working collaboratively on the solution.
      When you encounter any issues during the project that the team isn’t capable to handle by itself, find the right people who can and enclose them in your project team.

      Kind regards

      • The processes I’m talking about are those applied to building new software, and are based upon rules laid down by external regulatory organisations, such as the FDA.  If those processes are not followed, then, for example, any drugs whose manufacture is controlled by the software you’ve developed, might not get licensed.

        As we can’t include these external organisations within our project team, it seems were a bit stuck.  Which is a shame.