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Those who are experienced know very well that designing a solution

  • isn’t only about meeting a requirement stated in specification document, rather
  • it is more about the value provided to different stakeholders.

However, the starters usually have different perception of solution design, development and delivery. Their main focus, generally, is the application / tool they have expertise in and as such some of them overlook the importance of

  1. Harmony within team’s work,
  2. Delivery deadlines of the program they are part of,
  3. Integration of a component with overall solution design, and
  4. Value of the solution being sought.

Another thing which some can’t understand in their early careers is the roles associated with the needs mentioned above i.e.

  1. Team Lead / Manager
  2. Project / Program Manager
  3. IT Manager / Director
  4. Business Function Manager

So if you are interested in learning about what these individual roles do or meant for, I’ve explained them all here. Have a read and leave your comments, if you have any.

Example

A business has acquired SAP ECC, SRM, and CRM to run its Finance and HR functions and Procurement & Sales processes. You are a SAP HCM Consultant and supporting Talent Acquisition and Development Department with Recruiting and Learning Solution components. Your points of contact from business are the Recruiting & Training Managers as well as their teams.

From the scenario you can determine following roles:

  1. Module Team Lead, responsible for all of the SAP HCM Components,
  2. Project Manager, concerned about the SAP Project Delivery (Timeline and Results),
  3. IT Manager, looking at the integration between all of SAP and Non-SAP Systems,
  4. HR Function Manager, thinking of whole HR and not just Recruitment & Training Sub-Functions.

If you look at your own deliverables, these are just two

  1. SAP Applications i.e. Recruiting and Learning Solution,
  2. Business Functions i.e. Recruitment and Training.

Now there could be two scenarios, during

  1. Solution Implementation, you may expect everything routing to you through your Team Lead,
  2. Solution Operations, you may expect yourself reporting to all of the above-stated roles, indirectly.

Both environments are different and therefore you should be expecting to work differently while implementing and supporting SAP (Recruiting and Learning Solution). I’ve described the difference at Are they serious? Yes, they are! Expectations of SAP Users from SAP Consultants in an Organization.

When it comes to project environment, you may need to support

  1. Team Lead, in designing Talent Acquisition and Development Solutions which fits with overall HR Solution,
  2. Project Manager, in planning your work in a way which can adjust in the project master plan,
  3. IT Manager, in identifying the integration points with other systems in organization’s usage,
  4. Function Manager, in determining the value individual solutions generate to overall function.

In terms of the roles even though you are supposed to report to your Team Manager, you may expect to be reporting, indirectly, to all of the aforementioned roles. The

  1. Team Manager in some cases may ask you to work directly with Function Manager to understand his/her concerns and to provide solutions,
  2. Project Manager may approach you directly and not through your Team Manager to follow-up on status of individual project activities you’re assigned to,
  3. IT Manager, the head of IT function, may sometime ask you to handle a project beyond your module expertise. I’ll recommend you to take the role as it is as exciting (even more) as the Consulting role. Read Transitioning from a Consulting to Project Management Role? where I have described reasons of why should you be considering the role.
  4. Function Managers, instead of talking to their counterparts in IT – the Team Managers, may approach you to help them with their queries.

I’ve illustrated the scenario in the slide below:

What you need to know?

The roles mentioned above may have different titles in different organizations but are there to align Business and IT.

  1. You may need to understand the who’s who to provide them the required support.
  2. The other thing which is equally important is to understand that not all of the requirements (raised by business) and initiatives (started by IT) are always correct.

While you have to support different roles, with their specific needs, you should also be able to stand your ground and do the right thing. At Correct Solution for Incorrect Business Requirements I have described my point in detail.

What are your observations

of the roles in line with your work as a Solution Specialist?

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