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It is very easy not to forget the New year’s resolution. How? As Kevin Cassidy from SAP has demonstrated in the last 48 hours on Facebook a public survey can be a good starting point.

New Year’s resolution: Quit smoking and debugging have already discussed whether quit smoking and stop debugging could be good New Year’s resolution.

I tried to complement these discussions by writting down some proposals for New Year’s resolutions for SAP consultants. They are based on my experiences during reviews and lessons learnt sessions which I supported during the year. If these proposals can influence your New Year’s I would be very satisfied. Do not get me wrong: Many of the SAP consultants I know are doing an excellent job. But sometimes the start of a new year is a very good point to question own habits.

Therefore here are my proposals:

  1. Listen:  I will listen actively and limit my speech time in discussions with customers especially in requirement gathering sessions. Moreover I will not enter a room with a fixed solution in my mind.
  2. Limit your working hour’s onsite: I will limit my working hours outside emergency situations to 8 hours as I will not be productive after that any more. I will clearly communicate this ratio to my customers.
  3. Say no: I will reject activities which I do not see as a good option for the customers even though that can mean that I lose some work in the first instance.
  4. Regular brain work out on SCN: I will finish my working hours three times a week with a brain work out on SCN which means reading content on SCN not directly related to my project activities.
  5. Offer new perspectives: I will offer my customers new perspectives in the new areas of Mobility, In-memory-computing and the cloud even when it is outside my project activities.
  6. Document: I will not finish any activity before I have documented it so that my customers can work with it without my support.

Perhaps you think that these are unrealistic New Year’s resolutions and that you cannot afford them. I do not think so. My deep conviction is that these are practices which are mandatory for a successful SAP consultant in 2012 and beyond. The 1st of January is a good day to begin.

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21 Comments

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  1. Jyoti Prakash
    Hmm… Nice way to start 2012. In my opinion excellent insight on resolution for SAP consultant to start & follow in 2012. Thanks for the insight.
    All the best for future contribution.
    A happy new year 2012.
    With best regards,
    JP
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  2. Tammy Powlas
    For some reason, many do not like to document but it is so critical!

    For sure I hope everyone will read this and take it to heart and do these things – both customers and consultants.

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    1. Bernhard Escherich Post author
      Thanks for your comment. It is really as you say documentation is not the most interesting job but it is abolutely crucial for the success.

      Best regards,
      Bernhard

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  3. Jim Spath
    Whenever I hear something like this from a consultant or account rep or a speaker:

    > “…offer my customers new perspectives in the new areas of Mobility, In-memory-computing and the cloud even when it is outside my project activities…”

    I remind them of the last product or service that was going to fix all the problems, and the one before that, and the one before that. I regularly hang up on callers who try this. So please, do us a favor, fix the problems we have, with the solutions we’ve already bought, and don’t try to make up problems to sell us something else.

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    1. Bernhard Escherich Post author
      Hi Jim,

      thanks for your critical comment. I realized that this resolution could be misunderstood.

      My goal with this resolution is that consultants have enough knowledge of new solutions to put it into the right perspective in order to recommend the customer what is achievable and what is not.

      Let me take an example:
      A customer wanted to implement ESS. His organizational management was not maintained for a longer time. Instead of changing the maintenance procedures for the organizational management HANA was discussed as a possible solution to solve the challenge to find the right manager for an employee in the workflow.
      Here comes my point: Here I expect from a consultant to tell his customers: HANA ís not the right choice to fix your short term organizational management procedures. It will not help when the workflow is determing who the manager of an employee is.
      Here we need to maintain the line manager relationship in the organizational management. There is no technical workaround for this organizational challenge.
      But it can be very beneficial in the area of workforce planning you plan to implement in the next years.

      I hope that under these circumstances you can agree with my resolution.

      Your comment marked for me a good start for my blogging this year because I read your blogs always with great interest.

      Best regards,
      Bernhard

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    2. Bernhard Escherich Post author
      Hi Jim,

      thanks for your critical comment. I realized that this resolution could be misunderstood.

      My goal with this resolution is that consultants have enough knowledge of new solutions to put it into the right perspective in order to recommend the customer what is achievable and what is not.

      Let me take an example:
      A customer wanted to implement ESS. His organizational management was not maintained for a longer time. Instead of changing the maintenance procedures for the organizational management HANA was discussed as a possible solution to solve the challenge to find the right manager for an employee in the workflow.
      Here comes my point: Here I expect from a consultant to tell his customers: HANA ís not the right choice to fix your short term organizational management procedures. It will not help when the workflow is determing who the manager of an employee is.
      Here we need to maintain the line manager relationship in the organizational management. There is no technical workaround for this organizational challenge.
      But it can be very beneficial in the area of workforce planning you plan to implement in the next years. Without a knowledge of the new solutions the consultant would not have been able to do this although it was a bit outside his normal working area of SAP HR.

      I hope that under these circumstances you can agree with my resolution.

      Your comment marked for me a good start for my blogging this year because I read your blogs always with great interest.

      Best regards,
      Bernhard

      (0) 
    3. Bernhard Escherich Post author
      Hi Jim,

      thanks for your critical comment. I realized that this resolution could be misunderstood.

      My goal with this resolution is that consultants have enough knowledge of new solutions to put it into the right perspective in order to recommend the customer what is achievable and what is not.

      Let me take an example:
      A customer wanted to implement ESS. His organizational management was not maintained for a longer time. Instead of changing the maintenance procedures for the organizational management HANA was discussed as a possible solution to solve the challenge to find the right manager for an employee in the workflow.
      Here comes my point: Here I expect from a consultant to tell his customers: HANA ís not the right choice to fix your short term organizational management procedures. It will not help when the workflow is determing who the manager of an employee is.
      Here we need to maintain the line manager relationship in the organizational management. There is no technical workaround for this organizational challenge.
      But it can be very beneficial in the area of workforce planning you plan to implement in the next years.

      I hope that under these circumstances you can agree with my resolution.

      Your comment marked for me a good start for my blogging this year because I read your blogs always with great interest.

      Best regards,
      Bernhard

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      1. Jim Spath
        Bernhard: If someone says “I could repair this old car/code for you, but you’d really be better off with the new model/hardware+software, as it will save you gas/maintenance costs, not to mention it will cost more and more to fix it over time”, I’d consider them as doing me a favor. It takes time and effort to build that trust level. And that’s a different scenario than an unsolicited recommendation to toss out a working solution for something else.
        Jim
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      2. Jim Spath
        Bernhard: If someone says “I could repair this old car/code for you, but you’d really be better off with the new model/hardware+software, as it will save you gas/maintenance costs, not to mention it will cost more and more to fix it over time”, I’d consider them as doing me a favor. It takes time and effort to build that trust level. And that’s a different scenario than an unsolicited recommendation to discard a working solution for something else.
        Jim
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  4. Ramesh Dendukuri
    Communication theory speak about communication life cycle, Listen/write -Process( Configure)-Confirm (before you) Present to your own team first before to your client.Think before you speak
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  5. Kumud Singh
    Hello,
    This blog can be bookmarked and read everyday until a part of it is imbibed in us atleast me.
    For me the priorities will be:

    1. Listen : Not entering the room with a fixed solution or Open Thinking.Effectively listening to someone who rarely proposes a better solution is very difficult but surprises do come at times.Tolerance + listening + patience.

    4. Decompression of facts learnt in SCN.I think credibility of work done increases if one can document it. This encapsulates point 6 too.

    2. Agreed that not productive after certain time duration on regular work days.But at times,deadlines quadruples my productivity.Time no bar.

    3. Say No.I have been doing this but it will be pretty ideal scenario wherein what is said is accepted always.This encapsulates point 5.Say No and offer better perpective and let the response come. I think we still follow ‘Customers come first Always’.

    Happy New Year.
    Regards,
    Kumud

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  6. Mariana Lasprilla
    I particularly liked #6 “Document: I will not finish any activity before I have documented it so that my customers can work with it without my support.”.

    How many headaches I would have been spared if my predecessors had followed this rule! Here’s for hoping a few take the hint that it is our responsibility to deliver not only a working solution but also a means for the client to support it after we’re gone.

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    1. Bernhard Escherich Post author
      Hello Michelle,

      thanks for your kind feedback.

      My professional resolutions survived the first two days of the year. My private resolutions including the daily workout in the morning and the evening died earlier -:)

      Best regards,
      Bernhard

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    2. Bernhard Escherich Post author
      Hello Michelle,

      thanks for your kind feedback.

      My professional resolutions survived the first two days of the year. My private resolutions including the daily workout in the morning and the evening died earlier -:)

      Best regards,
      Bernhard

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  7. Harshit Kumar
    Bernhard,

    I like your 4th resolution, “Regular brain work out on SCN: I will finish my working hours three times a week with a brain work out on SCN which means reading content on SCN not directly related to my project activities.”.

    I wish more and more people gets benefitted by SCN.

    I wish you all the very best.

    Regards,
    Harshit Kumar

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