Recently I was managing an SAP implementation project. Well, project management in SAP environment is a different beast compared to say managing a project for a custom built software.
So here are some of my inputs regarding the way project management is dealt in an SAP implementation project. Enjoy!
SAP implementation projects follow a project methodology which is known as Accelerated SAP (ASAP). The entire implementation project is divided into project phases. In project initiation phases, project team formation, project estimation, project charter, formation of project steering committee etc. In blueprinting phase; requirement gathering, mapping requirements into SAP features, gap analysis etc. job are done. In realization phase, requirements are converted into SAP functions by configuring and customizing SAP application. In Final preparation phase, unit testing, integration testing, end user training, training documentation, end user documentation etc. jobs are done. In Go live phase, data migration from legacy systems, system installation, user hand holding etc. jobs are done. if the customer was running on a legacy system then a “Cut over” phase is also present. Here SAP is brought to live environment and the legacy system is phased out.
In SAP implementation projects, most of the project team consists of SAP consultants. These consultants specialize in one ore more modules of SAP. SAP is made of many modules such as Materials management, Sales & Distribution, Production Planning, Financial, Controlling, Human Capital management etc.
All SAP consultants need to perform all of the activities during the entire life cycle of the implementation project. For example a Materials management consultant will have to gather requirements related to all material management functions. Then he has to make a blueprint where he has to map these requirements into fitting SAP features or when a gap exist then create a specification so that the feature either can be accomplished through customization of a SAP function or custom developed to bridge the gap.
During realization phase, a SAP consultant will configure SAP features in his module as per requirements. He will also customize SAP features again as per requirements. He will also work with ABAP (programming language in SAP) consultants for features which need to be custom developed. In final preparation phase, he will test his module as well as test integration points of his module with other SAP modules. For instance, SAP MM module is integrated with SAP FI/CO, SD. PP and other modules. So he has to test to make sure integration of SAP MM module is fine with other modules. He will also prepare end user manuals. During Go Live (also known as Cut Over phase), he will provide end user training on the configured SAP system. He will migrate legacy data to SAP. Then he will do consistency testing to make sure that the migrated data is working fine.
The SAP project manager thus need to know peculiar things required to implement SAP.