I often ask myself the question “how sap projects can be handled in an agile way and what is needed to enable this?”. Since SAP has launched SAP Focused Build, a methodology which enables to work in an agile way in SAP projects, I think this is the answer and solution for my question. In this blogpost I like to share my experiences of working with SAP Focused Build.
SAP Focused Build for SAP Solution Manager 7.2 is a methodology that supports innovation projects in an agile way. It fits perfect for SAP S/4HANA implementations and can also be used for managing any other build cycle for SAP solutions.
The methodology is aligned with the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and is designed for large solutions as well as for program level with multiple scrum teams.
The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) for Lean Enterprises
How SAP Focused Build works
The big picture
Several disciplines from SAP Solution Manager 7.2 and SAP Focused Build work together to support an agile planning and build.
- Release Management: To support deployments (sap transports), releases and cycles.
- Process Management: The single source of truth for the documentation of the entire application lifecycle.
- Requirements Management: To handle the requirements in the backlog.
- Test-Suite: To use the test management functionalities for testing work packages, work items.
- Project Management: To plan waves, sprints, milestones, and q-gates.
- Dashboards: For tracking and reporting of the progress over the whole project.
The process from requirements to deploy
The process from requirements to deploy has 5 phases and begins with the creation of the requirements and ends with the successfull deployment on the target system.
Structure of the elements inside SAP Focused Build
There are 4 elements and these are structured as follows :
Planning and time dimensions
Several dimensions make it possible to plan the development step by step and in an agile way. The following illustration shows the different dimensions which are alligned with the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe).
Now dive into the system and have a closer look
Requirements – The Backlog
Requirements are representing user stories in the backlog. The requirements are created in the backlog and will be released after a review. The released requirements represent the workload for development and is planned into waves and sprints.
You can assign requirements directly in your solution documentation at any process or process step. To do so, use the tile “Solution Documentation”.
On the right side you can assign requirements to your processes or process steps. With this, the requirements are linked to the process structure.
In the screen « Create new Requirement» you can add more information. After that, you can set the status of the requirement to status «released».
The work which has to be done for a requirement can be splitted into serveral work packages. The whole documentation like functional specification as well as test cases from the solution documentation is linked to the work package. A work package represents an epic.
For a finer granulation work items are now created. Each one represents a user story, which is then the final work for a developer.
Handover to Development
Developers can use the tile « My Work Items » to see their assigned work items and can work on these items.
Optional, the developers can create tasks to organize their work inside a work item.
Handover to Test Management
Once the development work is finished, test management can start. For that the test manager prepare a test plan for the relevant work packages and work items which are finished and ready to test. Then the testers can access their assigned test cases with the tile « My Test Executions ». It is a simplified UI, from which the tester can open the assigned test cases, set the status for each test case and if neccessary create defects.
Simplified Testing UI in SAP Focused Build
After testing is successfully done, the deployment of the sap transports into the next system can start and brings the development cycle to an end.
As seen, the methodology SAP Focused Build enables to work in an agile way. There are lots of supporting functions and tools to manage the status workflow, sap transports and progress of the relevant deveoplment which has to be done.
What I really like is the close integration of the various disciplines such as requirements management, planning, development, test and deployment.
The challenge is that all individuals provide their delivery results and documents in time. Otherways the wave- and sprint planning becomes difficult. Changes of the scope are possible, but always require a certain care and time to handle and adjust it.
Do not forget, that the use of such a methodology also needs an open mindset of the people who are involved. They need time, a cosy environment and close support to adopt an agile approach like this.