Don’t Tell Me What We CAN’T Do In SAP!
I think now is a good time to bring up my biggest workplace pet peeve. It is when people tell me about what we can’t do in SAP. When I say SAP, I’m talking about the SAP ERP product and the capabilities of the NetWeaver platform. Even though my examples are focused on this platform, I have noticed similar attitudes about other technologies as well. People telling me what we can’t do have been around me my entire career and I have noticed that some people find it easier to blame the technology instead of admitting their own shortfalls.
The first project I was involved in with my first job out of college was a large implementation project, where I had a non-developer role mainly focused on testing and working with business users. We had a custom interface built to connect to another system and it was having major issues. I was not familiar with ABAP, but I noticed that issue could be resolved with a semaphore (used in C++), so I made the suggestion only to be told that “there is no semaphore in ABAP”. Which is technically true, except what I was suggesting is part of the SAP locking system and is just not called a semaphore. The same person told me that there “is no boolean in ABAP”, which made me wonder how anything worked at all. That was my first experience of “experts” telling me what we can’t do in SAP. I think that was the most extreme case and now that I am an ABAP developer, it is a lot easier for me to separate the bull from reality because I can prove that we can do it.
I think that a lot of my experience with this issue comes as a result of people getting used to doing things a certain way and thinking that way is the only way. Soon, the shortcomings of doing things that particular way become shortcomings of the technology. As someone who works in IT, it seems like the only thing that is truly constant is change. However, people will continue to fight change. Even taking advantage of the modern ABAP programming can be controversial to some.
Have you ever had similar experiences where someone has said that something can’t be done in SAP or even some other technology, when you knew it could? How have you handled these situations?