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Blog it Forward – Stephen Johannes

Blog it Forward

I was tagged in the Blog It Forward Community Challenge by Thorsten Franz.


My name is Stephen Johannes and I’m a SAP CRM Functional Consultant who has had the chance to serve as a SAP Mentor from 2009 to early 2012 and Topic Moderator for SAP CRM on SCN(currently on sabbatical).  In my normal day to day work my focus on has been end-to-end support of SAP CRM systems.  By end-to-end I tend to support everything except system administration and security.  I live in St. Charles, MO which is a suburb of St. Louis, MO.  Although I’m not originally from Missouri, I have lived here for the majority of my life.  I attended the University of Missouri-Columbia, MO, better known as “Mizzou” and graduated with a Computer Science Degree that focused more on operating systems than business software.

University of Missouri – Columns


Fun Facts about my current hometown and surrounding St. Louis region

Saint Charles, MO is primarily known as the place where Lewis & Clark began their journey westward to survey the Louisiana Purchase for Thomas Jefferson.  We are a river town situated on the Missouri several miles downstream from the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.  The original name of the town was Le Petite Cotes which is French for “The Little Hills” and founded by french traders.  St. Charles was under Spanish governance for many years and was named by the Spanish as “San Carlos” after San Carlos Bommoreo Church in the city.  The city name was then adopted into English as Saint Charles.  My city served as the first state capitol of Missouri until it was moved to the current permanent capitol of Jefferson City, MO.  We are also the county seat for Saint Charles, County and tend to host/feature many festivals throughout the year.  My favorites are Lewis and Clark Heritage Days, Riverfest(Our 4th of July Fireworks display), Festival of the Little Hills and OktoberFest (Yes Thorsten we have a beer garden, but it serves American style beer).  Those festivals are held in our Frontier Park which sits along the Missouri River in the historic section of the city.  In that same historic section you can find Figuero’s which is the largest seller of hot sauces west of the Mississippi River in the United States.  They have around 2000+ selections that range from flavorly to needing a legal waiver to buy.  It is a place that I like to frequent as a “chili-head”.

The normal attire for a “Chili Head”


Along the Missouri River and about a mile from my house is rails to trails conversion called the Katy Trail.  It stretches for a 200+ miles and is relatively flat(no more than 5% grade in any given section) converted railway that is used by bikers, runners, walkers, and hikers.  I have run it once or twice and plan on running it more as I complete my training for the St. Louis Rock n Roll Half Marathon that will be held on October 21st, 2012 this year.  The St. Louis Region is also home to the St. Louis Cardinals Major Leguae Baseball Club.  For my friends not familial with the Cardinals or baseball, I can offer a simple analogy.  Baseball in St. Louis is followed like soccer(sorry American English here) would be in the rest of the world.  The Cardinals won the 2011 “World Series” championship for professional baseball and have the 2nd most titles next to the New York Yankees.    

A 4K “Training Race” earlier this summer.


A late fall walk along the Katy Trail


Answers to Thorsten’s Questions

What is the best you can teach others, or share with others?

I’m not sure how deep we should go here.  But for the SAP world, if you haven’t learned this one already I will cover the Time, Quality, Cost rule.  For most IT projects you can always make a project optimal in two out of three areas.  Those areas are time to completion, quality of work and cost of resources.  It is almost impossible to have a project that can be completed in short time with a high quality of work and low usage/cost of resources.  The goal is balance your project by picking which two can be optimized with third dimension being sub-optimal.  This principle also applies to life as to quote the Rolling Stones “You can’t get want you want, but if you try sometimes you might get want you need”.

Suppose you won $ 500,000,000 in the lottery. Let’s allow for two years of reckless spending and fulfilling yourself some dreams – after that initial phase is over, what do you want to be and do?

I think in personal life my goals would be to write fiction full-time, run and spend time with my children.  In terms of charitable contributions I would target funding to organizations which can have the most impact in the local neighborhoods across the world such as St. Vincent De Paul and medical research for heart disease and cancer.

Marilyn’s question: Describe an instance when empathy in a project, development, collaboration, work experience, or community interaction turned a situation around (or should have).

Honestly this is a hard question, because I’m trying to think of a specific example rather than just a general period of time.  I would say in general when I was moderating the CRM forums on SCN that I have become a little less strict on blind adherence to the rules because I have taken some time to think about whether the are was confusing for new users.  Part of those reflections has lead me to looking at ways to make knowledge more available through static pages so people have a resource vs needing to search. 

I’m going to send this to Gregor Wolf, James Oswald and Harshit Kumar.  Follow the Blog It Forward (BIF) Chain to see updates on how they answer these questions.

My turn – Two Questions for Gregor, Jamie and Harshit:

1) What is your favorite sport to watch/play or hobby?

2) What charitable causes do you tend to support?

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  • Thanks for explaining the “chili head” picture.  I’ve always wondered.

    I was born in Missouri but the other side of the state “Kansas City”

    I’ll like your post even though you went to that “other school” – Mizzou….I leave you with this fond memory of our last game in February 🙂

    Thank you for moderating SCN, hearing you talk about it at SAP TechEd  inspired me

    • For a little more background on the chili head picture, that was taken at an event called the BCI Wing Ding.  Great event and the proceeds go to charity.  Now I must admit that I’m out of Blairs Jalepeno Death Sauce.

      For the other school comment all I can say is #MIZSEC .

      Thanks for the comments on moderating.  I must admit this has been a long break away from active activity but once October is over I hope to be back again.

      Take care,


  • Hi Stephen,

    Thanks for sharing!  I have a fond place in my heart for St. Louis, particularly since, oh, October 2004 🙂 And since Tammy already threw it down in *her* comment, I’ll share a fond remembrance with you here.

    Seriously though, I admire your dedication to things related to SAP, and also to things unrelated to SAP.  Family being #1.  Good on you!

    • Sue,

      I will admit that I went to one of those games in 2004(had tickets to all three home games).  I will just say that we stopped worrying about 2004 after 2006 and 2011.  We also figured out how to get rid of the curse(we blew up the stadium after 2005), so no issues there.  Plus Carpenter got injured right before that series so we weren’t meant to win it all. 

      I’m not sure its being dedicated or just plain crazy.  Personally between the race training and my “offline” SAP related project that’s about as much as I can handle when I’m not at work.

      Take care,


    • We have a lot of newer trails/greenways that have been developed.  It’s a great if you like to hike/bike/walk and want to to train without having to deal with auto traffic.  The one I tend to run is the Centennial Greenway Katy Trail connector which starts at the MO-364 Missouri River Bridge and connects to Creve Couer Lake.

      For my early morning runs, I just head out my subdivision and go along a road called Friedens in St. Charles(google zip code 63303).  Unlike the greenway and the Katy trail that path is very hilly due to the fact the road and my house are on the Missouri River bluffs.

      Take care,


  • Regarding the Time, Quality, Cost rule of project management…  to put it another way, you can only choose two of those. 

    1. If you want it fast and high quality, it will cost a lot

    2. If you want it fast and cheap, it will most likely not work (or just barely)

    3. If you what it high quality and cheap, it will take a long time to implement.

    • Yes that’s a much simpler way of stating that rule.  We also need to understand that cost is not only measured in both dollars spent, but opportunity cost of internal resources.  It’s always a good idea if some bids a project that violates this rule, that you need to find out which corner they cut or if there is something missed.

      Take care,


      • The other mistake is that they only view Cost in terms of implementation cost.  But if you shortchange something during the project in order to go-live on time, then you’ll still end up spending the money afterwards to get that piece to work.  And of course, it usually takes a bit more money and time to do it in a live system.  But no one budgets Cost for production support so it falls on deaf ears in my experience.

    • That’s okay, looking forward to yours when it does get published.  Yeah just will say here that early 2013 (crossing-fingers) is when the book is published.

  • Hi Steven,

    Good Day!

    I am very happy to see you with your kids! Fantabulos Fotos! I liked it very very much! Keep up the good work! Keep rocking and sharing new things. 🙂

    Have a great day!


    Hari Suseelan