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Author's profile photo Michael Keller

of products and services

Dear community, I’m currently reading the book “Not All Fairy Tales Have Happy Endings” by Ken Williams. Together with his wife Roberta, he founded On-Line Systems, which was later renamed to Sierra On-Line. This company published computer games with great success in the 1980s and 1990s. The book is less about the games than about the story of the company and the experiences that Ken made. That’s why it’s also very worth reading. Over the years I’ve read other books about IT (game) companies. For example about Commodore International, Apple, Nintendo, Sega and Nixdorf Computer. Also all very interesting.

What did I learn from the books? The companies have been successful in the past because of their products and also because of the services they provide to their products. The products in turn were closely linked to one or a few employees who worked on these products with great enthusiasm. A little luck seemed to have helped too 😉

That brings me to my thoughts on the New Year (last year I referred to the manifesto for agile software development). My impression is that many companies, at least here in Germany, consider corporate organization to be incredibly important – almost 20 years in the IT industry have shown me that. However, corporate organization as an end in itself doesn’t seem right to me. To be honest, I don’t know how a company should function that only thinks about itself and doesn’t produce or sell anything.

For this reason, the company organization should be geared towards ensuring that products and services can be developed and sold. Ideally, I see one or more enthusiastic employees as the origin for those products and services. They have an idea, then they should coordinate the implementation. Who could do better? Of course, other employees can and must then be involved if necessary.

As a small note: Today, in many areas, it’s always assumed that a group of employees has to achieve something. I only partially agree with that. The prerequisite is a well-coordinated team. I experience that sometimes, but mostly not. Often there are many more boundaries, responsibilities and a lot more that are a hindrance. Ultimately, you have to realistically see how a company is currently performing and then consider what is good for the product or service.

So we would finally come to some really fine folks: the developers 🙂 Developers are usually an important part of a (software) company and heavily involved in making products or services. This is exactly the point I’m thinking about at the beginning of the new year.

In an advertisement I once read the sentence “The world has never been so incomplete. Let’s fix it!“. This is true of so much. Of course, also on our work in process design with SAP products. Partly on the SAP products themselves, which is ok for me. Our work really begins where the standard possibilities of the products end. So our “customer” should be the focus. This is possibly the user from another department or it’s another company that is purchasing an addon or has ordered an individual development. Actually, however, it’s also the development colleague who “inherits” our development objects and has to maintain them … this can be seen from many perspectives 🙂

In any case, there is a lot to do and now the best is coming: We have the capabilities and skills! I mean programming languages, tools, methodology, the SAP community and more! We can write new applications and modify existing applications. This is of course not always trivial. Why should it? As if a trivial answer were possible to every complex question.

But those who approach the various challenges with enthusiasm, conviction and commitment (all good signs of enthusiasm) will get something. No, not a lot of money – although, possibly too 😉 Unfortunately, not always the recognition that enthusiasm deserves 🙁 But you get the chance to develop yourself. Step by step. Those who take the chance can look deeper and further into some topics than others. Because it may have a lot to do with our own attitudes what we can ultimately achieve. This opens up completely new possibilities. In many directions.

Ok, enough of that. Just a few thoughts on the beginning of the year. Let’s all make 2021 a great year! And don’t forget: A good place to be is the SAP Community! Thanks in advance to everyone who keeps this community together, expands and enriches it.


Best regards, thanks for reading and please stay healthy



P.S.: Check our new “Virtual Wishing Well for Blogging“.

P.S.S.: Not tired of reading blogs? Don’t miss this one by Jörgen Lindqvist.

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      Author's profile photo Michelle Crapo
      Michelle Crapo

      As always...  you make me think...  which, by the way, isn't always a good idea.  I'm not being serious.  Usually it's a good idea.  Which is why I try to read all of your blogs.

      I think about organization set up in the US.   For me and the different companies I've worked at, it's more like a stack of cards.   They are set up and then they are knocked down to be set up again.  I  have done the exact same "job" for many different managers in the the same company.   So perhaps it is just a different culture.

      I have learned so many things.  Bits and pieces along the way.  One thing I've picked learned by working for a smaller company without as many resources is the ability to say "no".  I still don't do it often enough.  When I say "no" what I really mean is that I give them a general idea of how much time that would take me to do, if it is possible, if it should be done along with an explanation.  If they decide it still should be worked on then I extend the dates on my current workload.  So I may not always be working for the "customer".  I might make it harder to maintain for the future developer.  I try to leave a lot of documentation.  It's a bit of a balancing act.  When I think about it, I developed the same approach (not to this level) with other companies I worked with.   An exception to all that was when I worked for a consulting company.  Then the balancing act was even harder.  A lot more customers for me to please.  Yikes!

      I'll try to pick up the books you mentioned.  I however, know I usually read for fun.  So it's usually not anything that is non-fiction.  Although I did love "Who moved My Cheese" and a couple of other ones.  So perhaps...

      Happy New Year to all!

      Author's profile photo Michael Keller
      Michael Keller
      Blog Post Author

      Many Thanks. My most loyal reader 🙂 The value of an honest "no" is completely underestimated in many companies. It's not because you don't want to solve a problem or to write a special software. It's because it doesn't make sense. Or because it is too time-consuming. Or because it means too much care afterwards. How many times have I fought for my "no"? Many times...

      Author's profile photo Florian Henninger
      Florian Henninger

      Sierra... a garant for quality games..


      Red Baron, Gobliiins, Police Quest and Die Hard.. to just name a few...


      MAybe I find a slot to work through that book too.

      Author's profile photo Michael Keller
      Michael Keller
      Blog Post Author

      The book is really worth it. Interesting look behind the scenes. In this context I can also recommend the book on the company "Id".