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I have recently played the role of delivery team lead in an in-house R/3 4.6C to ECC6 technical upgrade. These are some areas that I think worth paying attention to in an upgrade project. When these areas are clearly defined and known to the entire project team, it makes the upgrade journey a lot easier for the team to find resources and materials.

Background

Upgrade R/3 4.6C Non-Unicode to ECC6 Uncode.

Project Duration

This upgrade project took nine months to complete.

Team

  • In-house SAP Basis and Functional team
  • External Basis consultants from hosting partners
  • Contract Functional Consultants
  • SAP Globalisation
  • SAP MaxAttention Service

1. Mode of Operation for Upgrade

There is a need to setup mode of operation for all participation teams to understand how everyone is going to work for this upgrade. It could be things like:

  • where to store all documentations and materials as central repository
  • how to capture all ideas, problems, issues, solution and project materials
  • folder structure to store documents for individual task
  • ownership of the document e.g. only Basis can modify Go-Live runsheet

2. Documents created for the ECC6 upgrade

  • Upgrade Planning spreadsheet – Runsheet for Basis and Application Team
  • Hot Topics & Questions spreadsheet – Master sheet for Basis and Application Team
  • Problems and Solution Tracking – a spreadsheet or database that all IT participants could record down the problems, solutions and findings discovered in the upgrade
  • Individual folder – To store detailed solution for each task or activity

3. Communication Tools

  • Emails
  • Telephone
  • Web/Voice Conference

Web/Voice Conference is often required when working parties are not in the same country. Such sessions tend to work better than emails, especially for discussions to clarify project issues and technical problems.

4. Time Zone

In this project, we have participants from Australia, North America, France, Germany etc. With the time zone difference, it becomes important to have a duty roster to ensure tasks’ accountability are clearly defined for the Go-Live.

5. SAP Press Books

  • Unicode in SAP Systems – Read this book to understand your current system. It gives you a background on Unicode subject and indirectly you are able to estimate the complexity of the upgrade project on Unicode part. Recommend to read this before the project kicks off. It is an important topic if you are running a non-Unicode system.
  • Managing SAP ERP 6.0 Upgrade Project – This book contains what you need to know and do in an ERP6.0 upgrade, it is a useful reference book. The checklists proved to be helpful to ensure key activities are covered and ticked throughout the entire project.

6. Lastly, let’s not forget Synergy, Collaboration and Momentum

In the beginning of any project, it is natural for any individuals to feel like a stranger. Hence, it is critical to create a synergise and collaborative environment so that individuals want to be great and contribute their best in the project. Keeping the project momentum alive and on-going is as important, they play a big part towards success. In this project, we have:

  • twice meetings with core teams weekly in the discovery phase to discuss upgrade ideas, issues, solutions etc. As project progresses into a more mature phases, the quality and frequency of meetings become more focus and result-oriented.
  • get everyone on the same page and familiar with activities by looking at the same tasks list spreadsheet in day-to-day and meetings. This reduces confusion in discussions among team members at any point.
  • share and celebrate success at every small milestones made e.g. someone resolved a key functional problem, development system is successfully upgraded, Unicode ABAP programs adjustment are completed. This brings confidence and momentum for the teams to work towards the ultimate project goal.
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  1. Michael Brown

    Great observations, thank you. I would be interested if you could share some of the documents you mentioned, they would be a great head start for others facing a similar situation. -mwb

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