How to make a successful ITSM / ChaRM project? (part 1)
Let’s share our thoughts on how to make a successful ITSM / ChaRM project!
For 8 years, I’ve done many of these, for small, medium and large SAP implementations and I’ve found that some key steps are always essential to guarantee the project success:
- Define the improvements expected from the project and don’t forget to use TEA (Transport Execution Analysis) to detect hidden flaws in your change and release management process
- Keep your ITSM / ChaRM solution simple and as close to the standard as possible
- Take advantage of the project to align your release management process to SAP best practices
- Don’t underestimate the change management aspects of the project
- Don’t just test ITSM / ChaRM processes and define tests plans for the most complex scenarios of your change and release management processes
- Make your training documentation as simple as possible
- Start preparing the Go Live at least two weeks before the actual Go-Live date
- After 6 to 9 month, measure the reality vs the expected results with TEA
In this blog, I will describe in detail, by project phase, why all those steps will guarantee a successful ITSM / ChaRM implementation. I’ve divided it in two parts, the next one will be published soon.
1. Project preparation
A customer has decided he needs to implement a change and release management tool and chose ITSM / ChaRM. He has defined his objectives, the expected ROI and the area where improvements are expected.
However, there is always a gap between how we think a process is executed and how it is really used on a day to day basis. Such gaps can lead to actual problems (regression, extra work for the development team, etc.). They should be identified before the project starts or its benefits might not be as high as planned.
To identify those gaps, SAP provides, in SAP Solution Manager a report called TEA (Transport Execution Analysis). It measures a list of predefined Key Performance Indicators to evaluate how your change, test, transport and release management processes are really executed.
It is very fast to run and you would be surprised by what we find. Here are some of the findings we made with some of our customers:
- 60 dumps every day in average on a production system
- 40 objects overwritten in production by an older version on a 6 months period
- 800 transport requests opened in development for more than 6 months
This report gives you a quick and clear understanding on where your efforts should be focused and what should be done to improve your IT processes.
2. Solution Design
This step is essential as it will determine how the solution behaves. My best advice, keep it simple and try to stay as much as possible close to the standard processes. It will make your life much easier in the future!
Keep it simple!
Each additional step, field or validation in the process makes it less flexible and will slow it down. Don’t forget that it will be used every day by your organization and that complex solutions requires a lot more training, which can be problematic when new employees arrive or a new partner starts working on a project.
Always think, before adding a new element,
- Is it really necessary?
- Can it create bottlenecks?
- Will it increase the workload of your team, or even worse the workload of key members of your team?
Stay close to the standard processes
As for all SAP solutions, the further you get from SAP standard processes, the harder it will be to maintain and upgrade it.
Adjust ITSM / ChaRM processes to your organization but make sure you understand them well before making any decision. They are based on ITIL best practices and are designed to fit most IT organizations requirements.
Don’t be shy and align your release management process to SAP best practices
One of the thing that is usually overlooked is the release management. Any change and transport management tool will have an impact on the way you manage your releases in SAP. So don’t be shy and use this opportunity to align your release management process to SAP best practices.
Lately, SAP has produced some really great documents on how you should manage your tests, how you should bundle your changes, how to categorize changes, etc. Use those documents and make their principles yours.
It will make the difference between a good ITSM / ChaRM solution and a great one that optimizes the change and release management processes by reducing its costs, the time to market and the incidents in production.
To be continued in my next blog…