Blog It Forward – Phil Cooley
What a fantastic idea Susan Keohan and a great way to learn more about our fellow SAP Community members. This great blog started it all and I’m jumping on the bandwagon – even without being tagged! I have read with interest over the last few days a number of others blogging it forward – so good to see! Why don’t you join in the fun as well!! #BlogItForward.
Let’s get straight into it.
From a personal perspective I live in Melbourne, Australia and was married just over 20 years ago (yes – just celebrated my wife and I’s 20th wedding anniversary!) and have 3 children – 2 boys and a girl. Also have 2 cats and 5 chickens! My son just finished his VCE (Year 12) and will be attending university next year and my son and daughter are in Year 9 and Year 7 respectively. I am truly blessed as they wonderful human beings. During my younger years I was a keen cricketer and played for over 10 years – a leg spin bowler and used to get heaps of wickets! I played touch football as well and have always been a fast runner although now converting to slower paced running and love it as a way of clearing my mind for what is ahead. Those that follow me will know about my running efforts. My other interests include a love of the movies, music and clubbing (yes – I know, probably getting too old for this) but I do love dancing.
Photos: 20th Wedding Anniversary and my sons and I going out for a jog.
Photos: My daughter and I at the school’s Father’s Day breakfast
From a work perspective I have been involved in the SAP space for over 23 years and started my journey in Sydney, Australia where I was seconded to work on one of the initial SAP projects kicking off in Melbourne. So – here is where my SAP journey started and believe it or not I started in the SAP Security space. Building authorisations from scratch 🙂 but learnt a lot about business processes and how important they were to an organisation. I then moved on to the CO-PA area and finally Sales and Distribution (SD) where I stayed as a Functional Consultant for nearly 20 years. These days I architect applications built on SAP Cloud Platform and really enjoy it. I have also enjoyed speaking at SAP Tech Nights and of course organising them this last 12 months – really enjoyable. Bigger and better things to come in 2020.
Not sure it is a fun fact, maybe a weird fact but I have a genetic defect (dodgy X chromosome) that means I cannot drink a lot of water. Yes – you read it correctly. WATER and me don’t mix! I found out about this because I used to faint a lot due to low salt levels however I manage this now by not drinking water. I am not allergic I just need to limit it that’s all. I am one of only a handful of people worldwide with this issue.
How do you think the way you were raised affects your Career?
My father has always been a really hard worker, very strong work ethic and this I inherited, unfortunately, sometimes to my own detriment as my work/life balance can be a challenge at times. During my schooling my father always reiterated that I had to work hard to achieve anything in life so this has had a major impact on the way I work. I work harder than most people – more hours, more research, more training and more general interest in progressing my career for the good of myself and my family.
What do you think are the key elements for a successful project?
This is a seriously tough question as I am finding more and more that most projects now have a lot of challenges. The main key elements for me are the following:
- Managing of scope items – this can seriously impact on the budget, time frame and solution elements that are delivered. But sometimes this is difficult to manage.
- Proper risk and issue management on a regular basis to make sure any such items are mitigated.
- Management of master data and test data. The data for testing needs to be available as soon as possible as this will mean a quality solution is delivered faster. Lack of relevant data can also impact negatively on delivering projects.
- Proper project management. I find more and more project management has changed and is not what it used to be. Not sure if this is due to the Agile frameworks coming into app development however projects struggle due to an overall low quality project management regime.
What would you choose if given a choice between coffee or tea and why?
While I love both, a good red wine trumps both! 🙂 OK, I love Earl Grey tea (especially French Earl Grey) but do prefer a nice Soy Latte – this is my drink of choice.
I am now adding my own question to the mix.
What challenge have you experienced at work and how did you resolve it?
Way back in 1997 I had a challenge whereby someone had transported ALL number ranges from Development to Production. Serious challenge indeed. With user’s locked out of Production I worked back every single number range (based on reading related tables via SE16) to find the last number and to adjust the current number accordingly. Taking 2 full days to fix, this was a pretty massive challenge that I managed to solve successfully.
Message to the SAP community – NEVER EVER EVER TRANSPORT NUMBER RANGES!!
Thanks to Gaurav Karkara I have a few more questions to answer :-).
Please look back at your past working years and tell us what worked for you and what would you like to advise other professionals?
In everything I have ever done I try and understand things – not just follow steps. My advice to everyone is to work hard to really understand – whether this is business processes, technical setup, problem solving etc. When you understand, I find you can solve most problems however if you just follow steps then any issue will be difficult to deal with as there is no basis for understanding.
What is your learning hack? Things you do differently to learn?
When problem solving I never jump to conclusions – I always work through to the source of the problem even if it takes longer. The only way to find a solution is to first understand the problem. A lot of people I have come across try and go with the first thing that comes into their head rather than getting into deep problem solving.
The more problems you can work through the more understanding you will have which means in the future you will be able to solve problems quicker. Lastly, patience is required – especially in learning. You cannot just learn 20 years of SAP experience it comes with time and involvement in a multitude of different projects so be patient!
What personnel development skills do you think everyone should have or strive to have?
This is seriously a tough one. My only suggestion would be to try and move out of your comfort zone – test yourself in new areas. Not everyone can do this but I think this is where you will learn the most – not only content but learn about yourself as well.
Now for my nominations for Blogging it Forward. If the above same questions can be answered by the following people that would be great.
I would like to mark 2020 as the year of the SAP blogs with the following hashtag #2020YearofSAPBlogs. Spread the word!!! As a collective, let’s get more blogs out there – sharing knowledge and personal insights from experiences in projects so we can all benefit.
Thanks for reading!!!!