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Author's profile photo Bjørn-Henrik Zink

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.





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      Author's profile photo Javed Chowdhary
      Javed Chowdhary

      Nice point.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Björn-Henrik

      I really like the maths analogy! You could even extend it to argue that adding more resources (of any type) won't help certain projects...

      In your calculation above, if you already have someone who can add, someone who can subtract and someone who can multiply then adding more people won't help as the calculation can't be broken down into smaller "chunks". Also, the multiplication must be done before the addition so assuming you had a person who can  multiply *and* add and someone else who can subtract then 2 people can actually do the calculation just as fast as 3.

      Im going to stop now before I get carried away with that analogy. 🙂

      Thanks for the interesting read.



      Author's profile photo Naren Krishna Karra
      Naren Krishna Karra

      Thank you for the blog. I feel like I need to hone my abap-oops skills even more(dig deeper in it). 

      So that I can be the person who knows ' how to multiple ' and share it ( 1 * 1 = 1 ) .

      Abap * oops ! = OOPS-Abap. 🙂



      Author's profile photo Bjorn-Henrik Zink
      Bjorn-Henrik Zink
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Krishna,

      thanks for your reply, for most SAP professionals there is always something to improve and new to learn. Perhaps that is why it is fun to work with SAP year in and year out.

      Great equation, but I am not sure I completely understood it. I thought it would be

      ABAP + OOPS != ABAP OO.