Feeling overwhelmed on the SAP Activate content and what is exactly needed to ensure an Agile mindset? In my experience there are 6 distinct points to look for and establish, to really make the change happen.
There are six basics of any Agile approach or method. If you do not recognise these basics in your project, I bet your SAP Activate implementation project feels very difficult and agile adoption is slow.
When not present you probably experience things like I did in previous projects:
- Testing is only planned at the end during Integration Testing
- My Project Manager tells me in detail what I need to do and demands me to finish it on his terms
- I am working on 4 projects at the same time, I feel stressed and cannot prioritize.
- We only talk to each other during our very long cumbersome weekly team call.
- I believe I need to test something quickly and check if it works with our Subject Matter Expert, but am not allowed to show something to the business for another 8 weeks.
- The deadline is fixed, and we only hear that scope is fixed, even though we know there is a better solution for this feature.
SAP Activate can help you become more agile. The SAP Activate Roadmap Viewer provides you with a complete framework how to run an SAP implementation. Either from a specific product perspective or overall perspective. With valuable accelerators and project plans.
But when you are a relative newbie to agile SAP implementations it can be overwhelming.
Then the above mentioned 6 basics should be first focused on. This ensures you a much better adoption of the methodology and trains your brain to have a more Agile Mindset.
Regular check points with the business representatives (your customer) are a must to get feedback on what you are implementing.
This starts with proper business representatives participating in the fit-to-standard Workshops.
Second, ensure Unit Testing and Sprint Demo (Show & Tell) takes place during Realize Phase in each sprint. Feedback from the business is key during the Sprint Demo. You should never postpone this ceremony. Showing results, however small the scope of a Sprint may be, builds trust between you and your customer.
Iterations (Inspection & Adaption) are executed throughout the whole project, and in each phase, allowing you to work towards a full solution fit which is continuously checked.
Make use of them as they will also provide a sense of pride of what you accomplished thus far in the project.
Changing behaviors are not sustainable when only managed top-down. After the initial guidance of Program/Project Management the teams should self-organize their Sprint Content. In alignment with the other teams off course (see Adaptive Planning further on).
Do not only look to project management for guidance. Are things not as you want them to be, or you see a major obstacle for progress appearing? Take ownership and act!
When a Team takes ownership of its problems, the problems get fixed.
Reading Tip: With Extreme Ownership learn to claim your position and own everything what you are doing in the project.
Ensure you get one thing done before moving to the next. Scope a sprint and then work on this specific scope. If there is a new request coming in from the business, log it and only talk about it during the next Sprint Planning meeting and not during the current Sprint.
A solution which can support this is Focused Build, as it enables you to register the new requests, followed by an approval workflow before it is allowed to be planned into a sprint.
Both consultants and customer employees are part of the same team and work directly together.
Ensure the team has direct access to each other via tools like e.g. MS Teams. Especially in a program/project where working-from-home is the norm. Have a short daily sync to ensure information flows freely and actions can immediately taken.
Another common pitfall which I still regularly see occurring is the lack of the right business representatives during the Explore Phase workshops. These representatives require to participate continuously throughout all the SAP Activate phases. This ensures a much higher acceptance of the implemented solution(s).
Better fail early to learn fast. What does it mean to fail? It is actually the First Attempt In Learning, and very valuable in developing yourself and improving the results during an implementation.
Something finished? Show it right away to your business representatives (Product Owner / Subject Matter Expert).
Each iteration (Fit-2-Standard Workshop / Release Planning / Sprint / Demo) helps you improve as they are an opportunity to get feedback.
Things can change a lot during an implementation project. Each iteration you check on what has been delivered and find out if you need to adjust your expectations and/or plans.
I often saw people initially get scared of this, but this is normal. Embrace it, as it will give you much better results which are fully in-line with customer expectations
There are two main artifacts you should to see in your project, enabling you to adapt your planning in alignment across the program/project.
- Release Planning / Sprint Planning overview, including dependencies between teams (joint exercise).
An example if such a graph is the following. The more dependencies (red/blue lines) between teams (rows) and iterations (columns) the more complicated the picture will look.
The potential complexity of such a Big Visual Radiator in itself is already a clear signal for you that alignment and communication should occur between teams.
- Resource Balanced Planning allows you to clearly check and indicate on the realistic planning within the team during a sprint or release. And see if the goals and scope set-out are even achievable within the planned time frame.
A planning should be based on actual reality and not the hope of how things are turning out.
Two final remarks:
- Do you recognize these six points in your project? When they are visible and established, then you can dive into the further adoption of the SAP Activate Roadmaps and their accelerators and described activities.
- The more you run Agile projects, the more you will see it is not only about the mechanics but to a larger degree about Mindset and Attitude. It takes courage, focus, commitment, respect and openness to make it a success.
Enjoy your learning journey and I am really curious about your experiences and examples from your projects. If you have a great example (and they can be small as well), please share them in your response.