AGILE for SAP ERP implementation? No thanks!
As I see the ASAP methodology team in SAP is hard working to adopt ASAP to AGILE approach. That was more than one year ago announced and there are first results available in form of presentation:
As I see this is also addressed for SAP ERP implementations! I am wondering because on lessons given several years ago for the auditors on management post-graduate study I already have answered the questions that AGILE is not adequate for ERP implementations from obvious and clear reasons. I will name and evaluate the reason in next posts.
During this I named examples of projects where approach like AGILE (or more generic: rapid prototyping) is perfect and effective – like Hyperion implementing analytical tools in a while during presentations! As I recall this has made a lot of anger for SAP. For BI, CRM, and other components of similar nature AGILE may and I beliefe is perfect – but not for ERP!
Even in the definition of AGILE in Wiki we can found that this method is for rather small close cooperating teams of users(testers) and developers. Example of what can bring the use of AGILE by huge and wide project show us NHS RiO project in Britain – after many years and huge effort complete disaster:
Why: the success of AGILE depends on the very consequent keeping the “specification/realization/testing” cycles closer and closer. With SAP ERP after many years as project manager and quality auditor on dozens of projects (successful projects!) I can even not imagine the power able to manage this in practice.
By ERP implementation we have several teams with involvement of key users and already this landscape makes the communication in whole project as significant issue. In real live in addition to above we have to face very often scenario like described in the post of Tammy Powlas:
This means: business very often skeptical or neutral, it is hard to reach the right engagement and support on every level and area. And in this environment you like to use the “trial and error” method (what indeed the AGILE is)? – it’s obvious it will cause even less engagement and more frivolous attitude!
And what are the expected benefits of use the AGILE adopted ASAP? In the presentation I found that in one case the implementation was 20% shorter than planned 12 months. Based on my experience the right implementation time of Sap ERP is 9 to 10 months. It is sometime possible to implement in 7 months but only with right attitude and engagement level of key-users and management. Is really 1 or 2 months shorter time so important to make experiment? I doubt. Please note that all connected with ERP implementation (handbooks, consultants, contracts) is familiar and adopted to “traditional” ASAP. Is it really the huge change of project method and practice worth of it? (please note I am still addressing my doubts to ERP only!)
My recommendation is: for SAP ERP rely on the ASAP as it is based on waterfall – this really works. In my belief it works perfectly since is scrupulously followed step by step with keeping the right tempo. Do not make your ERP implementations as some kind of risky experiment!