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A RANT

OK – before you go on to happily read this. I am ranting again. You might find some things repeated here as I’m not stopping to read my other blog posts.

Are you JUST an ABAPER?!!!!!!! Well then by definition you must be stupid right? I mean you didn’t move on to be a functional, designer, project manager… You get the picture.

Well I must be stupid, I guess. I AM JUST AN ABAPER. OK, really I’m more of a developer at this point, but my strength is ABAP. Um I mean my strength is SD, WM, PP, PI, PM… Opps no my strength is configuration. No my strength is new technology. No my…. Again you get the picture.

We ABAPERS are happy to do our jobs. Sure there are some people that are using this to move on to a different job. At one time I thought I was too. Long time developers do know about one or many different functional areas. That is a strength that is needed – in my mind – to help produce better results. We may ask questions that trigger something, we may understand that writing a program in a different way is better.

DO NOT IGNORE OR UNDERESTIMATE

Want to make us hate our job very quickly. Then you, functional designer or designer, ignore our comments. You our boss, don’t back us up. Or you our consultants who should be working with us talk down to us.

A great developer will simply find another job. Hit us with your JUST AN ABAPER, you couldn’t possibly understand. Is in fact, flashing a bright red flag at a bull. We get mad. What does that mean for your project? Well it might be, we program it exactly as you are telling us to. That means we won’t ask questions that may need to be asked. Then in frustration, we might go ask our managers why we aren’t being taken seriously and let them know some concerns.

THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO LIKE TECHNICAL WORK

I know gasp, amazed face… I love technical work. It is constantly changing. I am now learning many different “languages”. Some as simple as JavaScript, I had to learn that for XMII. I’m not even sure if that is around anymore. FIORI, Personas, JSON, a bit of C++, a working knowledge of different APIs. Understanding of how the system works.

Sound familiar my ABAP friends? Not learning that yet, as a side note, learning is always good. BUT if you are mainly using ABAP – are you really JUST AN ABAPER?

SO I’m taking a deep breath

So I’m taking a deep breath. Trying to understand why yet again this blog or a similiar one is still needed. And wondering when people will get that we know what we can do. We are not stupid because we didn’t like or want a functional job. Although my ABAP friend the best way to do that is to do what I did. Find a Techno-functional job. It’s worth it.

Winding down and feeling very frustrated that people still thing there is such a thing as JUST AN ABAPER!!!

If you are just an ABAPER!

Then you know there is no such thing as just an abaper.

Now take the time to feed your mind and become just a developer. (Which, by the way, to some people means you lack intelligence as well) Good luck! Stay Happy!

If you are a designer, treat us right, work with us, you’ll be surprised at what we do know.

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13 Comments

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  1. Florian Henninger

    I know a lot of just abapers and they are happy and more or less not replaceable. So I just say, these just an abapers discussion comes from the jealous designers, consultants, managers (put your preferred job name in here) because they are not able to use or understand abap.

    A good abapers will always be needed, because all these other guys asking us to solve their problems at the end. You know, no fiori frontend without a backend running abap. Even not, when running a S/4.

    Got the picture 😉

    ~Florian

     

    Btw: following Lars Hvam Petersen

    ABAP is like the ☀

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  2. Florian Henninger

    And as a functional guy, how long does it take that everyone of us get into a new language? Maybe some weeks, at least a few months.

     

    Ask the others how long they need to switch 😉

    ~Florian

     

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    1. Michelle Crapo Post author

      Change of subject – It’s amazing how many different languages are out there to use right now with SAP.   I was going to start a list and just kind of gave up.  So we get to pick and choose what makes sense to use. Also I think we are going to try to standardize and use ABAP as much as possible since we know it.

      Of course – I am looking at as much as I can – because it’s fun!

       

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  3. Paul Hardy

    I was a functional person for several years before I became an ABAPER. Mind you I was a programmer before I was either.

    A lot of the (new) functional people in Australia are amazed the first time when the ABAP team knock back their design for being silly. I can only presume many companies force the developers to code what they are given without thinking.

    If so, there is a problem with that approach – can anyone see what it is?

    Developers should know about (a) the business and (b) configuration precisely so they can raise red flags for silly requests e.g. a user exit for something can be achieved via the IMG.

    How would a new developer know about the business process you may ask? Because when they join, someone should tell them. We actually take them out to site

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    1. Jelena Perfiljeva

      When I just started one of the old jobs the manager believed that as an ABAPer I should just wait for the functional folks to work with the business users and deliver a spec before even doing anything. Fortunately, that flew out the window pretty fast and we pretty much ended up doing everything together, starting from the initial discussions.

      It was a bit annoying sometimes and seemed wasteful to sit through too many meetings where you had no input. But then again there were enough times when I could intervene early and save the team from wasting time on unrealistic design.

      And yes, actually going to the factory floor and warehouse and talking to the users can be tremendously beneficial. Business knowledge is what makes a difference between a true ABAPer and merely a coder who learned ABAP syntax.

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      1. Michelle Crapo Post author

        Perfectly put.  An abaper vs. a coder who learned ABAP syntax.

        That is the difference. Now if we have time and they are willing – let’s teach them to be an abaper.

         

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      2. Kiran K

         “Business knowledge is what makes a difference between a true ABAPer and merely a coder who learned ABAP syntax”.

        Well Said 🙂

        I Often use that statement.

        K.Kiran.

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    2. Michelle Crapo Post author

      I agree so much.  I am cheering!

      Yes – learn the business! I’ve been to warehouses, visited different sites, and learned so much. Just talking with the people that actually do the job is amazing! They know so much and it’s always interesting to see if they are using a program you developed or doing things differently. Then the question is why. I sometimes get the  answer they didn’t know about it. I also get the answer that it doesn’t work the way they wanted. It is worth so much to do those visits! Some of them can be virtual via Skype. (For pure computer work) I still like to see the actual work being done. That’s so cool!

      When I first joined the company I work for now, I spent a week with someone who knew all the systems. I took notes. My head spun. And then I went back to my home office. Then when each new request came in I could go back to my notes to get started. Then I could start really interrogating – I asking the end users questions.

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  4. Matthew Billingham

    If you work with offshore developers, then, with notable and very honourable exceptions, you won’t have very high expectations of ABAPers. (Good offshore devlopers rapidly move into other positions, poor ones stay – the rest are newbies learning their trade!). As a functional person, you’ll have to write very detailed specifications, or you simply won’t get what you need. Effectively the functional analyst writes the program – just doesn’t type in the code.

    A functional analyst with that experience will assume that all programmers are like that – because they’ve never met a real, competent developer. Hence the “oh, just an ABAPer” comments. But if the functional analyst is of any ability, they’ll recognise your worth.

    Me, I’m just an ‘umble programmer. Ever so ‘umble. I am well aware that I am the ‘umblest person going. (From David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens).

     

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    1. Michelle Crapo Post author

      Me – I simply enjoy what I do!

      Thank you for the addition as to why a person might feel the need to do all the coding in the functional spec. I think we’ve all had an experience with one or more people who I wouldn’t consider developers. I also have sent technical spec off-shore. Some are amazing. Some I tended to want to just write the program. Some are amazing and learning – they could use a nice intro into the business transactions and will be better because of it. I guess you get a mixed lot. Yes, I see it off-shore more, I’m not really sure why. I do see it here as well.

      However, there is a mixed lot in everything. I’ve worked with some incredible business users, designers, project managers, managers…  Etc. And then some not so good ones. I don’t decide immediately that they can’t do their jobs because of working with one or many bad ones. My immediate assumption is they know what they are doing.

      I, and I’m guessing you as well, modify my way of working depending on who you are working with. Each person has a different style. As we learn those people in our company, we know what works and what doesn’t.

      My constant – rants, complaints, erm let’s call it what it is, whining is just the label thing. You can call me whatever you would like. I just want the understanding that no matter what the title, a person may work beyond what you would expect.

      I also don’t want to see all people grouped into one category because of what their job title.  It’s funny, my title may be different than yours and we do the same thing.

      I’m calm today. I just think of all the great, incredible developers I know. There are so many. They have chosen that path because that is what they want to do.

      And, you, are one of those great, incredible developers, I “know”.

      Michelle

      Me – I’m constantly learning. It’s a never ending journey. I also love to have fun at what I do. I work more than anything other than sleeping I think. It has to be fun.

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    2. Bärbel Winkler

      In my previous job, I shared QA-tasks with a colleague and we were assigned for just that role to various projects where the actual development was done by off-shore teams in India. But, getting this role established took quite a bit of time! To begin with, the management just thought that off-shoring ABAP-development would be a simple task but it turned out quickly – to nobody’s but their surprise! – that this wasn’t the case. There were quite a few false starts with the developers just coding what they think they understood from the specs which wasn’t really what the functional side had meant. They were basically speaking different languages. So, our role was established to function as a kind of “translation office” to make sure the requester and the developer were actually on the same page.

      We also started doing rigorous code-reviews with initially fairly long feedbacks of what didn’t fit our guidelines. My colleague and I had a running joke of the developers possibly having a dart board with our faces on it for target practice! Things got a lot better once we opened direct comms-channels with the developer teams, established regular calls and explained to them, that we held ourselves accountable to the same code-review standards as we asked of them. From that point onwards it didn’t take long for the code to have almost the same look and feel as our own code! This was quite a rewarding experience.

      Nowadays, I do a lot more coordination work which suits me just fine as I’m – as far as I can tell – a lot better at coordinating stuff than hands on coding where I still have a hard time (dare I admit it?) wrapping my head around OO-programming.

      Cheers

      Baerbel

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      1. Jelena Perfiljeva

        Yes, “it’s just ABAP” assumption is especially dangerous when outsourcing operations. People don’t realize that a good ABAPer can basically just take the business requirement and complete the development with nothing but 1-2 questions. But the cheap offshore resources expect a very detailed specification, almost to the point when it’s faster to just do it yourself.

        As a side note, I suspect that the offshore companies might be run in a much more authoritarian way than we used to in the western countries. Many times I could see the developers were clearly not dumb yet they just seemed to be afraid of their own shadow. Afraid to ask a question, afraid to suggest a better option, afraid to try something new or different, etc. It felt like they were conditioned to just keep their head down as much as possible.

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