Why Subject Matter Experts Really Matter
You all probably know them, the few persons that seem to move IT implementations forward whereas the rest of a team kind of just come along. Without these experts, additional resources do not add any further value to implementations. Large number of resources cannot compensate expert knowledge. This is why subject matter experts really matter and are key to successful IT implementations.
Development teams are often referred to as software factories and thereby sometimes confusing management to believe that what is being done is a simple assembly line. Generally the work at an assembly line is about efficiency. Somebody decides how to assemble and the workers do the assembling as fast as possible. I argue that with SAP implementations this is very rarely the case. Whether it is application maintenance or further development, developers mostly face new issues or requirements that needs to be solved. Development tasks do not get solved by merely adding more people to a team. Why?
Let me compare it to math. Lets say you have 10 people with basic knowledge who knows how to add. Then you have another 10 people with additional knowledge who knows adding and subtracting. What will happen if you ask them the result of 4 x 3 + 2 -1 = ? Nothing, they will not be able to solve the issue. What happens if management decides to manifold the team size with the same knowledge levels in order to fix the issue? Still nothing. What is needed is somebody who knows how to multiply otherwise nothing will happen. Once that is done, it is important to share the knowledge with the rest of the team to speed up future tasks of this kind. Otherwise the expert could become a potential bottleneck.
It is the same with IT development, many times 100 people cannot solve what 1 person can. Systems do not run faster because 100 persons coded them. End users are not more happy because it is a large development team who produced the code. They just want systems that are doing right things fast. Keep this in mind next time somebody argues that a resource can be replaced by other cheaper resources. Focus should really not be on price, it should be on value (competence) and that requires a management with sound SAP understanding to make solid judgements.