So to be true to myself and the SCN community, here is the next chapter in managing an SAP Data Migration project…To recap my notes on this topic, refer this blog. Now let us focus on monitoring and controlling a detailed work-plan for a Trial Conversion. One of the challenges I find in this area is defining boundaries of scope and schedule for Trial Conversion(TC). The first Trial Conversion is essentially a Assembly testing of all of the code written for ETLR(Extract, Transform, Load and Reconcile) processes. You might typically not have Reconciliation Specifications ready from the business teams in this stage. I have allowed this portion to not be in scope for first TC. This allows you to focus on ETL portion and helps you define the objectives to execute the ETL tools to ensure they all work in a smooth manner. Would we want to focus our objective on having 100% data quality and volume at this stage? I would not do so. I would focus on limited but true data from the Business to Extract or be provided in templates and ensure you have tested all your Data Objects within a given time-frame of the TC. It will hence be necessary to time-box the TC to a typical 3 weeks(may vary +/- upto 20%) schedule.
When the scope and schedule of the first TC is defined, it will be necessary to agree on this with the business stakeholders. A few workshops will be good to see you through questions that will be on your detailed work-plan –
- Who, from the client’s IT team will be doing the Extracts from their legacy systems?
- Will they access the Production system or a copy of the Production system at a point-in-time? (I prefer the latter option)
- Are all other source systems data aligned to this above point-in-time snapshot of the legacy data? If not, how much off will each Data Object be? You may not care much for the master data on this point
- What is the overall lead times to extract data?
- What is the tool decided to be used for Data Transformation? (SAP Data Services, Informatica PowerCentre, BackOffice Cransoft, IBM DataStage etc.) Clients like to leverage licenses that are existing with them. Consider this point if you are involved in decision around this topic.
- What is the lead time for the Transformation per Data Object? This may not be accurate but start with a ballpark duration and refine it in next TC’s
- What is the lead time for Load in SAP target system per Data Object? Like Transformation, this may not be accurate to start with.
- What is the decision on Load Tools? (LSMWs using BAPIs / IDOCs, older BDC method, Direct Input, Industry specific like EMIGALL, custom ABAP etc.). I will explore this in my next blog.
- Are we ready with Design, Build, Test of these Load tools before the first TC?
- What are the control check-points for measuring data in each phase of ETL? Will be convenient to plan for Data Load Statistics tracker to track ETL counts, success rate etc. This will be an important part of your stakeholder reporting
Another challenge in Trial Conversions project monitoring is how to track plan versus actual? Let us do a deep dive into this area. A scenario would be a Data Migration Project Manager has a list of Data Objects, knows the sequence of loading them into SAP target system, and has a fair bit of breakdown of ETL durations and resources involved. A baseline plan can be developed with Planned Dates of Loads against each object. If for any reasons, there is a delay in loading master data object, there will be a domino effect to the rest of the schedule. To control these changes, I develop a MS Project Plan with all sequencing, resources and durations incorporated in it. If a task in this plan changes, we can easily see the impact on the overall schedule of the TC. But typically MS Project fails to give good visibility to the Management. How do we manage this? So what I do is use a neat trick from MS Project and MS Excel to integrate them in a way that if a change is done on the MS Project, it reflect automatically onto an MS Excel reporting page. This ensures smooth and instantaneous reporting of changes to the schedule to the Management. Let us see how this trick is done –
Develop a MS Excel reporting page. This is quite flexible and you can develop your own in whichever way you want. But something from one of my project looks like this(portion of the TC tracker) –
The column “Forecasted Load Date” is picked from the MS Project Plan in the following way – Copy the finish date from the .MPP file for the task which says “SAP Target system load”
Go to MS Excel for that row / column as shown below and do a “Paste Special >> Paste Link >> Text
This should now enable you to do reporting through MS Excel which is dynamic and takes Finish Dates of tasks synchronously from MS Project! This combines the advantage of both the Microsoft products.
You can then be able to track a baseline plan, a updated forecast re-plan and the actuals per Data Object. And because this is all in MS Excel, it should allow you to develop any sort of Graphical progress indicator
Challenges during TC :
- SAP target test system/client delivery is delayed for the TC start date. How do you handle it?
- Mapping from Legacy to SAP target provided is incomplete or changes at the last minute and leads to significant failures in key master data. How do you handle it?
- Critical Functional resource is sick and out for a week? Configurations needed to be fixed to get data loaded but no one else knows. How do you handle this?
- And many more…
Now let us move our focus on Reporting aspect during TC. The MS Project detailed data migration work plan can help in reporting to the programme stakeholders in many ways. One of the key elements I use is that I have all the reporting tasks at the top level and divide those tasks into Master and Transactional Data Load completions. I then add all the dependencies of the Master Data Object load tasks in the Master Data completion milestone task and similarly for the Transactional Data completion milestone task. This way, you can give a quick dashboard summary to the Programme Management along with your other presentations. This looks something like the below snapshot from my detailed work-plan.
Combining the MS Excel to MS Project Plan vs. Actual dates as shown above, you can report the progress along with the above milestones from the MS Project. This should give sufficient ammunition and arsenal for Management reporting. I am sure there are many more tips and tricks out there which you might have used and I would be very keen to know. Share your thoughts…