Using Solution Manager Features for an Implementation
Solution Manager provides various features that can be used during an end to end implementation project. Many of these features are easy to use, and this document brings out some of the main features that should be part of any implementation project, and explains in the simplest way how these features can be used.
It explains in detail how to use Solution Manager for some of the frequently used project activities such as project documentation and project status reports. It also explains how to use Solution Manager as single workspace for all your project documentation needs.
Template for Global implementation
When you use a Solution Manager for a new implementation project, the first task will be to create and define a new project in SOLAR_PROJECT_ADMIN.
Solutions Manager provides standard templates for different projects such as Implementation template for a specific implementation or a Global Template that can have its features carried forward for use in future roll outs. Note that you should create a Global Template if you intend to use it for future implementations. It can so happen that during the implementation you created only a standard Implementation Template and not a Global Template since future roll outs was unclear at that stage.
Let’s take an example of an implementation being done in America region where the standard Implementation Template was created. But in the next phase where you have to do a similar implementation for the Europe region for the Company’s subsidiary. In such a case where you have clarity of various roll outs in Europe, you will have to create a new Global Template to be used for subsequent Europe roll outs. Since the original features in the America Template cannot be carried over, you will need to re-create them when you define the Europe Template.
For a Global company, you can create similar Master Template specific to each region to be used for subsequent roll outs for each region, rather than referring to the original America or Europe Template.
Project planning details specific to project dates and resource planning can be incorporated after you have defined the scope of business processes in SOLAR01 transaction.
For each of the business process that has been finalized and visible in the left window in SOLAR01, You can maintain the Planned and Actual data in terms of dates, number of resources and team members for each activity in the ‘Administration’ tab on the right side. The resource planning can be entered in the field ‘Person Days’. Some ways of maintaining these data are listed below-
1. Planned and Actual data can be used either at higher level activity, or at each task level. If your project has team members planned for the overall project rather than any specific phase wise planning, then it will make more sense to enter these data at the higher level. You can also break it down to any of the higher level node where your plan data is fitting in. For instance if you have one resource for Customer master and Material master each, then you can enter 2 resources in the higher node for Master Data instead of individual sub nodes under it, since it will give the same picture as entering at sub nodes.
2. If the resource planning is based on skill sets, for instance specific skills like MM/EP/CRM expertise is required at specific phase, then enter these data at activity levels since it will give a clearer reflection of the resource planning done during the project. Another example is if you have one resource for Customer master and two resources for Material master, then you can enter 3 resources in the higher node for Master Data, and maintain it in sub nodes under it by entering value 1 under Customer Master and 2 under Material master. This will give a reflection that two resources were utilized for material master business requirement gathering whereas only one was utilized for Customer master requirements.
3. You can use Solution Manager to get details of your resource planning and its actual utilization. Take a scenario of overstaffing where the planned resources are more than the actual resources utilized. In such a case the remaining difference is shown in the ‘Remaining’ field. For example out of 4 resources planned for Master Data, only 3 were utilized, then the difference of 1 will be shown highlighting the fact that one resource remained un-utilized.
Note that you will not be able to use this feature to find details for understaffing scenarios. So for instance when the actual resource value is more than planned. In such case, the Planned value is by default filled with the Actual value meaning 100% resource utilization.
4. Assignment of Project Team members for various activities is a useful feature of Solution Manager which enables reports to be pulled out to track member wise tasks and status. Also in the case mentioned in point 3 above, team member names will enable to point out the common resources working in multiple areas.
After you have completed the business process selection, in SOLAR01 you can see the final list of the processes that will be used in the project on the left hand window. Now against each business process/Master Data on the left node, you will be entering the technical object details such as program names and transactions. After the RFC connectivity of the various testing clients of the landscape has been setup to the Solution Manager, it is now possible to go directly to the desired testing system right from the technical objects you entered. For instance when you double click the particular program or t.code in SOLAR01, it should take you to the sandbox environment for concept testing or initial development.
Apart from the customized programs or t.codes that you will be developing for the project and enter it in the Technical objects under the respective nodes,it will be useful to enter standard transactions as well since you will be using many of them during the course of the initial development phase. Some useful ones are listed below –
This will help avoid opening a separate login session to the Sandbox/Development client for example whenever you have to test execute a program or find details in a standard table. This is also useful for projects that involve BADI/EDI and IDOCs interface since you will be repeatedly executing such transactions.
You can generate a wide variety of reports in solution manager in the Project Analysis section. These reports can be downloaded in either excel or HTML format, though the later format is more useful and presentable to the management. Some of the important and useful reports are listed below that can be used in any implementation project.
Business Blueprint – General analysis report
This report will give the Status, Planned/Actual Date and Resource for each of the node that you would have defined in SOLAR01. You can filter the report output for only the main nodes (excluding sub-nodes), since the status and Date/Resource plan would have been done at the higher node level. This will give a better view which is brief and clear.
Note that the ‘Status’ field need to be filled in the Administration tab in SOLAR01 for this report to be generated.
One of the most important task for any project is to ensure required documents are uploaded in the solution manager. You will be required to select all the nodes and sub-nodes before generating this report, since all documents assigned to any sub node should also be pulled. This report gives a compresensive list and view of all documents that are assigned by project team at all nodes.
The advantage of this report is that many documents get assigned to a particular node that may not be visible or aware to other members. In such a scenario, this report will give a bird’s view of where and what type of document is attached to each node. This can act as a checklist of documents that are completed before formally completing the project.
Additionally this report also gives the particular tab in which the document is assigned to the node. Note that documents can be assigned in any of these tabs – Gen Documentation, Proj Documentation, Configuration, Development. So it becomes important to know which particular tab has the document assigned so that it give a general idea of the document’s relevance, as well as saving precious time to search all the tabs. For example documents attached to the Development tab is relevant more from technical perspective whereas documents under the Proj Documentation is relevant for all project members from the project perspective.
Realization Testing Status
This report will give you a good picture of the status of each of the various nodes during the realization phase. For example you can update the status field of the nodes ,say Master Data or Business Process according to unit testing being completed or not. Remember that you will have to keep the status updated against each node in transaction SOLAR02 for such a meaningful report interpretation.
One of the most useful reports is the list of all the transaction codes that are in scope for the project. This list can be pulled out during the blueprint phase to get a comprehensive list of standard SAP t.codes in scope, as well as during the realization phase to include any customized transactions. This list will also be useful for preparing the BPML.
Test Case Status
This report will give you a picture of what kind of test cases are assigned against each node that is relevant for testing. So you will know which business process will have manual testing and which ones are automated ones like eCATT (in case you are using such tools). It also gives you the current status if testing not yet commenced for that business process.
Other technical detail such as the logical component (representing the SAP environment) in which the testing is to be done, and the results of successful testing run and number of errors in case of failures are also shown.
Test Script Status
This report should be pulled after you have created and assigned all test scripts in the relevant business process nodes, in the Test Case tab. This list gives you a very useful information regarding type of test case (either Manual or Automated) and shows the transactions involved in the testing run, as also the logical system name, though this report will not give any statistical data of successful or failure runs.
Test Plan Status
Once you complete the test script assignment and Test Plan is successfully created, you will need to assign it to the business users responsible for executing each of those test sets. This report will give a complete list of the test plans available for testing and the person’s name against each test set. This report can be sent out to the relevant persons to formally indicate their expected tasks for User Testing Phase.
Since this report also gives you a statistic figure of successful runs and failures, periodic generation of such report will give indication of the progress of the Testing Phase.
For an end to end implementation project, the roadmap plays a vital part on how you go about vis a vis the different activities in each phases. It is imperative to create a roadmap that suits and conforms to the project scope. You can use one of the standard roadmaps available in solution manager for your project. But it is good practice to rename it to your project relevant title and modify the phases and activities therein in line with the scope of project.
You can modify/create a new roadmap in transaction RMDEF. Solution Manager has great flexibility to customize a roadmap by features. For instance you can add a node or modify or drag a node to a different location.
Since each node represents an activity for the project team, you can ensure to rename it appropriately. Additionally it is good practice to include only relevant activities as a sub node under it. This will ensure that the project team adheres to all relevant tasks and activities, as well as give a correct view of project scope. Hence you can remove nodes or sub nodes from the original standard roadmap that you have copied, that is not included within the scope of your project.
Since Solution Manager itself includes a list of tasks to be completed, you will find it useful to include a new node for this purpose and use it to track the activities done in the Solution Manager as the project phase progresses. For example you can add a new node called ‘Solution Manager’ and include Solution Manager relevant activities under this node. This node can be added in each of the implementation phases and you can mark it as complete as and when the project tasks are done, just as you do with the other nodes. The activities under this node should have Solution Manager relevant tasks like Creating project, System Landscape creation etc. Such a approach will give a prominent view of Solution Manager tasks to be performed by the project team whenever a report or snapshot of project progress was taken (by going to transaction RMMAIN).
A Snapshot of a Roadmap
SAP provides a range of help documents in the form of accelerators which is available in all relevant nodes. It can be a guideline or whitepaper on the relevant activity (which is represented in the form of node) in the roadmap. You can additionally add your own helpful documents such as company specific project guidelines, methodologies and other commonly used templates and logos that becomes vital as project progresses. You can add these at the top node of the roadmap to make it easier to search.
Single Workspace in Solution Manager
One of the useful features of Solution manager is the flexibility to add web links. These links opens up within the solution manager and are accessible just as you would have open a separate window by typing the web URL.
If the client have centralized document repository on a different internal site like SharePoint, the URL link of this site can be added among the list of documents uploaded in Solution Manager Projects Documentation tab. Since this will be a central repository, it can be added among the documents at the highest node in the transaction SOLAR01 and SOLAR02. Thus when you click on the document link that represent the SharePoint link (as shown in a sample screen below), a web browser window opens up in the same tab. This avoids opening a separate login window for such links during project execution and makes Solution Manager the single workspace for all project related activities.