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An Ode to SAP from the Darkest Days of a Successful Project

Once upon a time I was on an SAP project at a steel mill in Ohio. It was an ordinary project as things went in those days, although during the first six months the plant was on strike and there were some issues, to put it mildly, getting through the main gate.

We were implementing payroll in SAP with interfaces to a new Kronos time and attendance system. Part of my job was to build the interfaces using the HR interface toolbox, the supporting ABAP programs, and to generate key payroll reports out of the Kronos database using an MS Access front-end.

The work was enormous fun and everybody got along well. We even had a happy hour every Friday afternoon during the strike with a buffet and a little cold beer, but not too much as we all had to drive home.

With a little time and patience the strike was resolved, the workers went back to their jobs, and the project proceeded smoothly to a successful conclusion.

h3. Relatively Speaking 

“Smooth” of course is a relative term. All complex projects enjoy their share of challenges, which to me are always the most interesting parts because they provide opportunities to learn.

Everybody deals with the stresses and pressures of a project in their own way and there were periods of stress in this project, but nothing that couldn’t be handled with a little creative hard work and good humor.

And good humor abounded. Out of the darkest days of winter, during the most stressful phases of integration testing, and a particularly intense break-fix cycle of development when go-live seemed almost an impossible dream, somebody came up with a project anthem.

We all loved it and sang it together during one of our weekly meetings. It helped relieve the stress and through the humor focused us on the tasks at hand. I can’t claim that it was responsible for the ultimate success of the project but it did provide a few laughs during a challenging phase.

I can’t claim that I wrote it because I didn’t but I still enjoy it. So I’d like to share it with the community at large. Sung to the tune of the theme song for the American TV comedy Gilligan’s Island, it is adaptable to the needs of any project … and not just SAP projects.

So, without further ado, and without inflicting the horrors of my own singing voice on the community, I hope you all enjoy the lyrics to our song SAPLand Chaos.

The names have been changed to protect the innocent. Feel free to insert your own names for people, systems, and dates in the angled brackets.

+Now sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful day,
It started when we bought this pile,

How much money did we pay? </p><p>John Brown For an eight hour shift.</p><p>The program started crashing down,
The PC’s, they were tossed,
All hope of rescue — it was gone.
The company sure was lost.</p><p>The plant shut down and we were toast,Here in SAPLand Chaos!</p><p>No scrap! No sponge! No travel cards!
Not a single freaking clue.
Like and the other “SAPS”
There’s nothing we can do.</p><p>So join us here October tenth

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