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One of the great criticisms underpinning the move away from Enterprise Core type software applications to more agile cloud based applications is the slow and frustrating rate of change that is unsuited to the rapid response era in which we now operate – with robust change control procedures often seen as the culprit.

But does a change control procedure need to necessarily slow down the rate of change to an SAP Enterprise Application and work against agile development goals?

Well, the answer is yes, and no.

If current, manual software lifecycle management techniques remain in, then it is a resounding yes, change management will work against agile development goals.

The necessary manual categorization of changes, manual code checking of changes, manual approval of changes and manual testing of changes (for example) will remain and the frustrating slow rates of change delivery will continue. Volume and velocity improvements will remain elusive and agile SAP development will be difficult to achieve.

However, if automation across the SAP software lifecycle is embraced, then no, change control will not work against agile development goals.

Automated change control procedures can facilitate a significant increase in both volume and velocity of Enterprise SAP change with an improvement in quality.

When the entire change control procedure is automated from end-to-end and includes things like automated code review, automated impact assessment, automated unit and regression testing and automated approvals (see Chet Hodgins’ recent blog things will be different), change control procedures will no longer be working against agile SAP development, but will be facilitating it instead.

Now, many SAP IT teams have already automated one or several of these activities with some success. Automated testing has reduced testing time and automated code review has shifted left error identification. Both helpful in achieving agile SAP development and increasing change velocity.

However, it is not until these are included in a true end-to-end automated process, underpinned by a robust, automated change control workflow platform, such as Rev-Trac, that the true benefits will be realised.

It is then, that SAP change control procedures and agile SAP development will become as compatible as they need to be.

With so many SAP IT teams looking to embrace agile development this is surely the next frontier for many to explore.

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  1. Michelle Crapo

    It’s a nice idea.   I’m usually a glass half full kind of person.   But not in this case.

    Smart computers have to get smarter for change control to be agile.   It also depends on the environment you are in and how deep the approval needs to be.    An approval for children medication where there is a change to the system BOM / batch system would be looked at then a change the way we make dog beds.

    So basically the change control process would have to have all the fun things: documentation, testing information, approval certified and what it is for.   It could all give me a headache.   And yes some of this is already “automated” to a point.    That point where a person has to sign off.   Workflows are lovely things.

    I have not seen Leonardo at work yet.   I will on this trip to Teched.    It will be interesting to see if we can move forward even more.  Integration testing is always interesting – there can always be a pieced missed.   Reading this in the future the system itself will list what is effected.  That alone is huge.

    Nice forward looking,

    Michelle

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