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Personal Insights

Blog it forward – Jan Musil, SAP Activate

Hello all, I have been challenged by my colleague Bob Byrne for a #blogitforward post a while ago. And today I’m finally ready to share few things about myself with the SAP Community members. I enjoyed reading the many posts from various community members and learned a bit about member’s history, likes, dislikes and aspirations.

This is my story and answers to few questions I found interesting in the other posts and happily re-used the questions. Answers are my own :-).

Who are you and what do you do now at SAP?

My name is Jan Musil and I’m father to 15 (soon to be 16) years old son and husband to my lovely wife of soon to be 25 years. Time passes when you have fun. We live in a small-town North of Philadelphia close to Allentown, PA (yes that Allentown Billy Joel sings about in the famous song).

We love the area as it offers plenty of opportunities to walk, hike, bike, run and other outdoor activities. We are close to several State Parks, lakes and rivers; and within short drive to Poconos. And if we want to go to the city to see a show or visit a museum, we have a choice between Philly and NYC. Both within 90 minutes of driving from our place.

At SAP I’m leading team that is building, rolling out and supporting adoption of SAP Activate with our customers and ecosystem partners. Our work is accessible to our customers in SAP Activate Roadmap Viewer and in SAP Cloud ALM. We also have a large community of SAP Activate users that we have recently moved from SAP Jam to SAP Community here. If you are user or fan of SAP Activate, I strongly recommend that you follow the community – Bob posted about how to do that here.

 

If you were 20 again, what would you study?

If I were 20 today, I would probably change my study from chemical engineering and process automation to biotechnology. I think this is the field with a lot of potential and promising future.

If I were 20 back when I was 20, I would study the same subject at the same school. I really enjoyed my time at university both the academics side of it as well as the shenanigans we did back then outside of school. I have fond memories from those 5 years at the university away from my parent’s town.

 

What do you enjoy most in your work and why?

Few years back I would say that I enjoyed the creative nature of product engineering work. While that still applies, my thinking has shifted over the past few years. I realized that what I really enjoy in my work is to work with so many talented colleagues at SAP. The creativity, ideas, enthusiasm and customer focus I experience on daily basis is amazing. I believe that we are more creative and can accomplish much more as a team than any individual can be on their own.

 

Recommend resources of information that helped you in your work

At SAP I found following resources really useful both in my previous role as of Head of PM Practice in SAP Services and now in my role as CPO for SAP Activate:

SAP Activate resources

As a project manager, delivery executive or project team lead you will find these resources valuable.

Books

There are many books I can list here, but these I tend to come back to every now and then. To stay within the community rules I’m not including links to a specific bookseller. You can find these books at your favorite book shop (consider buying them from friendly local book store instead of big box or on-line store).

  • Management 3.0 by Juergen Appelo
  • Multipliers by Liz Wiseman
  • Only the paranoid survive by Andrew S. Growe
  • Essential SCRUM from Kenneth Rubin
  • Agile Product Management with SCRUM by Roman Pichler

 

Share a fun fact/story about yourself that people don’t know.

I used to avidly race triathlons some years back. While today I exercise mostly to stay active, I used to be competitive in local triathlon races. One of my goals was to complete Half Ironman distance race (1.2 mi swim, 56 mi bike and 13.1 mi run) in 5 hours. Which I almost did in 2009. After placing in the division at local race near Nockamixon Lake in 2007 and 2008, I pushed up to 3rd in the overall ranking at 2009 race and finished just a notch over the magic 5 hours mark.

I also dabbled in the full Ironman distance twice. First year I have not finished as I had been injured and wasn’t cleared to run – actually got off he crutches about a week before the race. I still did the 2.4 miles swim and biked 112 miles to then abandon the race before the run. A year later after I recovered from my injuries, I finished the full Ironman race in Lake Placid, NY – that was in 2012. I wasn’t competitive at this distance but ticked the race off my bucket list. If you are not familiar with Ironman, here is a short recap – the race starts at 7am and you have to finish before midnight to receive title of an Ironman (or Ironwoman) – and the race consist of 2.4 miles swim followed by 112 miles on a bike and you finish your day with a 26.2 mi run before crossing the finish line.

To this day hearing the Beautiful Day from U2, that is played during the start of the Ironman races, gives me shivers. Below is an official recap of the 2021 race – we had beautiful weather all day long and it was amazing to finish on the Olympic oval in Lake Placid. That place is still one of the most favorite places on earth for me (and many of my friends) to visit even if we are no longer racing.

I guess pushing the limits, pushing myself and having personal strength to persevere translates from the triathlon racing to my work as well. Ask anybody who worked with me and they will tell you that I don’t give up easily.

 

If you were not in your current position, what/where would you be and why?

I remember that at university in Czech Republic, when I was getting ready to graduate, I was asked if I wanted to stay and teach instead of starting a job with relatively unknown German software company. I politely declined the offer, but if I didn’t, I would have probably been a tenured professor at a university and would be teaching at some capacity. Imagine, professor Jan… I’m not sure how that career would have evolved, it’s an interesting mental exercise to think about where I would have worked by now.

 

Summer or winter?

I enjoy both. When I was growing up, we used to go to skiing resorts during the winter with school or my parents. So, skiing and now snowboarding are activities that I enjoy a lot during winter months. Actually, few years back my wife and son visited our relatives in Calgary, Canada and we got to ski at some amazing places in the Rockies – Lake Louise and Sunshine both rank high in our list of places we want to come back to when we can all travel again.

And in the summer, I enjoy the outdoors and ocean. I’m certified for recreational diving and while I haven’t done that recently, I really enjoyed snorkeling with my son on the beach in Caribbean during our vacation there. We especially enjoyed the Trunk Bay on St. John U.S. Virgin Islands where you can follow snorkeling trail under water and learn about the flora and fauna.

If I had to pick, I would probably lean towards the summer. As you can usually stay outside a lot longer and don’t need to wear as many layers of clothing.

 

What do you most enjoy about the SAP Community?

I really enjoy the unfiltered and direct feedback we are getting from #sapactivate community members and users of SAP Activate. This applies not only to the community itself, but also to the feedback our customers share through the feedback function in SAP Activate Roadmap Viewer.

 

I enjoyed sharing few things about myself with the community. I hope you found some of them interesting.

Now I challenge all of my co-authors and co-writers of the SAP Activate book to #blogitforward and share something about themselves with SAP Community. Ball is in your court…

Sven Denecken

Srivatsan Santhanam

Former Member

Jitendra Bhandari

Bob Byrne  (only if you feel like doing another one )

Dan Ciecko

Christina Galbreath

Amin Hoque

Adnette Kamugisha

Michelle Otun

Reshmi Paul

Jagamohan Singh Chawla

Kelsey St. Ledger (Lapczynski)

Christian Vogler

 

You can explore more resources in SAP Community using tag  #sapactivate and #BIF.

 

As always, I would like to encourage you to subscribe to our podcast “Inside SAP S/4HANA” and follow the SAP Activate tagon SAP Community. The podcast leverages the unique knowledge and expertise of SAP S/4HANA product experts, partners and customers to address your needs by sharing product insights and project best practice. There is no customer success without product success and project success; we help you get to the next level and make your SAP S/4HANA projects a success. Subscribe now and benefit from the shared knowledge.

Your voice matters! 

If you want to learn more and actively engage with SAP subject matter experts on SAP S/4HANA Cloud, join our SAP S/4HANA Cloud Customer Community. This platform which is available to SAP S/4HANA Cloud customers and partners has a clear mission: deliver an interactive community to engage with one another about best practices and product solutions.

For more information on SAP S/4HANA Cloud, check out the following links:

  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud Release Blogs here
  • SAP S/4HANA PSCC Digital Enablement Wheel here
  • Help Portal Product Page here

Follow us via our SAP Community tag and page #sapactivate and also the #SAP-S-4HANA-Value-Series, or myself directly via Jan Musil.

 

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