Always comparing yourself with THAT CONSULTANT?
You have mastered various SAP tools and modules but still wondering why that guy is still valued more than you. Whenever you have discussion with him, he seems to have NOT SO GOOD technical knowledge as you think you have. During your assignments you always find yourself under pressure; whenever your boss asks you about status you don’t even have words to tell how busy you were. But if you pass by that guy you find him NOT REALLY working; he even takes longer time to deliver his assignment, in your thinking. “But why he is cherished more?” you always wonder. When you try to tell your customers how wonderful are the SAP Solutions and on how many projects you’ve worked earlier, nobody appreciates it. But that strange guy, who is even junior to you, even if draws few diagrams on whiteboard, everyone claps saying “We were looking for such solution”. Even some of the customers try to lure him to join their team. “What is so special with him?” you often think but haven’t yet found an answer. You may need to look for following qualities (for example) which he has and probably you don’t have (or if you have you’re not using them appropriately).
1) Understanding the context in which a solution is sought
You always focused on the tool you were master in. But you didn’t look beyond that. That guy, even of his limited knowledge of “the tool” understands why customers need such solution. He talks about business process for which SAP has offered a solution. His understanding of the process puts him on higher rank than you. Memorizing transaction codes, tables names or other technical detail isn’t necessary as is the understanding of how to put things together. You may notice that guy without remembering such details still can build the system and he is an edge on you by knowing “Why” to build system instead of only knowing “how” to…
2) Considering all aspects of a solution, not only the configuration
You know the exact IMG nodes to configure system. You even remember them. When you are asked how long the solution will take, you quote the time which configuration takes. Later when you’ve configured the system, you’re shocked to hear that’s not what was asked or you’re pressed for not being able to answer many other things. But you see everyone talking to ‘him’ nicely. You know why? He knows there are quite a few things which are associated with delivering a solution. So before committing himself to an assignment, he first make sure what exactly is required. He document it, get it signed-off and then put each single activity in a clear plan. When he has to provide status of the project, he can clearly tell on which stage the solution has reached by then; its configured already as per requirements, tomorrow users are coming to test and so on….
3) Speaking ‘language’ of customer i.e. business-oriented conversation
When you gather business requirements, your focal point is the SAP tool (which is superb, no doubt about it). You ask customers what entries you’d like to have here in this table or you ask them in your technical language. Customers give you wrong feedback and you’re happy for having conducted a good workshop for requirements gathering (that’s another story later you’re just shocked when your customer refuses to accept the solution you provide). That guy, who is just drawing some diagrams, in his first meeting with customers get good feedback. The reason, he talks with him from business perspective. He asks them how you’re performing such and such activities currently. He just captures the process on board with some kind of flow charts and explains “how a to-be solution would look like”. Being business-oriented he convinces customers for the solution his first meetings. He just doesn’t need to make noise of how successful was his workshop. Compare it with yours and see why he always wins…
If you’ve changed your perspective about ‘him’ and instead have started thinking to improve yourself for missing qualities, I think I have achieved my purpose through this not-so-detailed but quite-frank blog of convincing you that you can also be THAT GUY. I’d be happy to hear what you think.
Wishing you a prosperous SAP career,
Once a junior consultant (but now enjoying status of “That Guy” at current stage of my SAP career)