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Author's profile photo Paul EL KHOURY

Join Us Improves agility and promotes cross-functional collaboration

“Building bridges not silos” is a core value at SAP that we in security live by. We design secure technology bottom-up and mandate security top-down. To operationalize (with ease) this value also means that we need to challenge traditional methods to setup cross-functional teams that fit into our agile development pace.

We present Join Us, a tool that extends collaboration and project management tools to build an inclusive and diverse virtual organization. Join Us is set to build teams, carrying ideas forward rather than just being assigned to them.

How does Join Us Work in the Development Ecosystem?

Join Us is a methodology that helps structuring the creation of cross-functional teams, specifically creating transparency on skills and recognition of contribution. We connected the skills in Join Us to the SAP official skills catalog and beyond. Join Us is also a tool that extends collaboration tools like MS Teams and Slack in implementing the methodology. Therefore, the key question is: Is Join Us relevant to you? Here is an excerpt of the most prominent roles in Join Us:


Join Us in Action

A brief break down of a security strategy consists of two components: (1) a Business as Usual one based on working processes with regular improvements and (2) a transformational component that would typically be driven by programs and projects. The more diverse skills are needed to deliver on the outcomes for transformational projects, the more Join Us could be a fit.

Here is a practical example and a demonstration to illustrate how to use the tool. Consider a transformational project that intends to implement a Zero-Trust model for your solution. You have a core team consisting of, among others, a network engineer, a security engineer and legal counsel. While the top experts are assigned to the perform the work, they don’t scale, causing you to lack the desired execution pace.  You recognize that if you don’t get additional skills in network engineering and security your project will fail. This is where Join Us comes in. Join Us contributes by improving the agility of “Attract, Retain and Develop talents” in setting up your cross-functional (multi-disciplinary and cross-departments) project team.

Excerpt from the Tool

<story line>
The core team meets to define deliverables. One of the important deliverables was setting up a FIDO 2 Multi-Factor Authentication solution for all users accessing the solution. The challenge is that so far no one had completed a FIDO 2 implementation, but all would need it, the proposal is to set a cross-functional team from the different impacted solutions and the FIDO 2 solution providers to work on it.

  1. [challenge owner]
    1. Create the challenge: should have clear Objectives and Key Results with estimation of efforts and requisite skills needed
    2. Staff it with talents: Distribute the link of the challenge in an organization with diverse audience and skills or target groups that attended courses and curriculums in specific field of expertise. Encourage management to support their team members to join in.
    3. Complete a Challenge and Reward Team Members: once the deadline of the objectives set is reached, assess the key results, and safely terminate the challenge.
  2. [Talent]
    1. Search and apply to a Challenge: Search by skills wished to strengthen and find the challenges that fit to your intrinsic motivation or the work. In case of many options, the talent should consider prioritizing with strategic to the company and leaders assigned.
    2. Challenge, Member point of view: for several compliance reasons, the views of the challenge tasks could be spanning and end-to-end of only specific to the contribution of the talent. This is simply a user experience aspect for the tool.
    3. Skills recognition: Talents onboarded to the tool are always having a profile free of skills. To build their profile and earn recognition and potentially educational rewards, they would need to be part of a cross-team and complete tasks of challenges.

</story line>

Key Takeaways

Join Us supports cultural change with:

  • real-time agility to setup cross-organizational teams, identifying the right combination of skilled and motivated talents
  • a flexible recognition program to retain the engaged talents
  • connection between project management setup and people management setup (for the full ecosystem of an employee) to include contributions into cross-organizational project to be visible in the employee’s career development
  • At SAP we are piloting this approach and tool in the security practice addressing strategic project.

The Team behind the work

  • Paul El Khoury, Chief Product Owner Security for the board area Product Engineering
  • Gilles Montagnon, Head of AppSec Engagement & Enablement, SAP Global Security
  • Elton Mathias, Lead of the SAP Security Champion Program, SAP Global Security
  • Nicolas Petralia, Senior DevOps Engineer, AppSec Engagement & Enablement, SAP Global Security
  • Geraldine Musat, Associate DevOps Engineer, AppSec Engagement & Enablement, SAP Global Security
  • Yannick Schleiting, HR Total Rewards Global Recognition






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