Tuesday, February 28, 2012

SAP Mentor Monday on Lean and SAP

A replay of yesterday's SAP Mentor Monday (#SAPMM) is available at SDN. A webinar where Björn Goerke, Dagfinn Parnas and I shared experiences on scrum within the SAP world.
A highly interactive session with interesting discussions.

More info (and other replays) available at SAP Mentor Monday wiki.

The magic of scrum

The magic of scrum
Everyone is interested in the golden key to enforce successful projects. Nobody wants to be disappointed with the results after a few months, or even years, hard work. Time to apply some magic to SAP projects? Is that possible? Is scrum the magic word, is it a silver bullet?

Why is scrum getting more popular in the SAP world? What do people want to achieve while looking at agile methodologies? According to the 2010 Version One investigation, it is about (amongst others):
  • Accelerate time to market 
  • Enhance ability to manage changing priorities 
  • Improve alignment between IT and business 
At talks about applying scrum to the SAP world I often hear the following expectations:
  • Bring in the business! 
  • Enable team spirit 
  • Bring fun to team 
  • It brings opportunities to business 
  • Show software deliveries frequently to all stakeholders 
  • Expectation management, what do I really need 
  • Facilitate delivery process with continuous improvement 
  • Happy users that are satisfied using the software 

So scrum is magic?
Let me be clear before we start, this blog is not about the religious discussion between waterfall or agile project methodologies. There is already a lot written down on doing scrum, you can even learn about it within 5 minutes.
And even on SDN you can already find interesting blogs on doing scrum in the SAP world.
So then, why this blog? This blog is to identify some differences when you want to apply scrum to your SAP project. Differences, tweaking scrum? Isn’t that dangerous, will it still be scrum? To my belief one of the key principles of doing scrum is being pragmatic, so yes, you are allowed to tweak the process to fit your needs. But be aware don’t touch the core principles. Just as Bjoern Goerke wrote down in his blog Good Riddence "Do Scrum by the books. Always".

So my dear 'scrumdamentalists' don't get angry with me. Hold your breath before you state that scrum in the SAP world is not a real scrum. Things are a bit different but you are still able to do scrum in the SAP world. At least that is my opinion after having experience with 5 different kind of SAP projects:
  • SOA project with SAP ECC, CRM, PI, BI and non SAP 
  • SAP PI implementation 
  • SAP CRM implementation 
  • SAP ECC implementation and European roll out 
  • SAP CRM upgrade 

Why are things different in the SAP implementation world?
  • SAP doesn't come as a greenfield. SAP provides a lot of standard functionality and predefined industry solutions. 
  • Project teams are formed with specialists instead of multidisciplinary teams. An ECC consultant will not do PI. An ABAP developer will not start customizing Finance. And so on. 
  • Quite often multiple product owners are required for your project, different business aspects, different business department, different business representatives - so different product owners. 
  • A project with multiple teams running in parallel requires special attention for integration (just like in non scrum SAP projects). It is even possible to have an integration test team next to your realization teams. (And yes, of course things are being tested within the realization teams, how else would things get done ;-) 
  • Start with a vanilla SAP and identify the gaps that still need to be resolved (Check the agile addon for SAP's ASAP methodology in Jan Musil's blog ASAP goes Agile). Also don't write user stories for all SAP transactions that come out of the box. 
  • Make sure that you have all required specialists on board. A rare specialist, required for a short period of time, needs some planning upfront. 
  • Ensure that all product owners remain aligned. Facilitate in a 'scrum of scrums' meeting with all your product owners. 
  • The scrum of scrums meeting is REALLY important, discuss each teams progress, make sure that integration issues are resolved and planned within the different teams. If you have an integration test team running in parallel, it will probably be out of phase with the realization teams. Take the integration issues resolution into account while preparing your sprint backlog. 

Scrum in name only
Now that scrum is being 'hyped' within the SAP world, let's be careful together. Stick to the core principles of scrum. If you're asked to join a scrum project with sprints of 3 months, you know that it is a scrum project "in name only". When all your sprints are planned ahead by a project manager, this is not scrum, it is a ScrumBut. Stick to the book, but keep in mind that some things are different in our SAP world.

Scrum is not magic nor a silver bullet, but it does give you continuous insight in progress and issues. Insight that is given to you on a day-to-day basis and often a lot sooner than before.

When you apply scrum the right way, you will experience a project team that 
  • delivers frequently, 
  • continuously improves the way of working, 
  • takes responsibility to deliver what is actually needed
  • and has fun in doing so. 
Please enjoy applying scrum to your own SAP project(s) and share your experiences with us.

(This blog is also published on SDN at February 26, 2012)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

SAP communities ROCK! (the sequel)

On our internal CIBER knowledge carousel I did a talk on how SDN can boost your career. If you share your knowledge, others can learn from you. But at the same time you can learn from others.

Learn by Sharing!

Read a recap by Arjen van der Sluijs on Storify.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The gamification of Demo Jam

Some Demo Jam thoughts
The Demo Jam is a very powerful event at SAP TechEd to show latest innovations by customers, partners and SAP. No sales pitch allowed. No powerpoints or prezis. Just your demo and a timer set at 6 minutes. I even remember some teams doing live coding on stage.
The last few years a lot is said on the Demo Jam event. It has become a marketing event for SAP, the rules of the game have been changed, it's only SAP on stage, ... Maybe you can recall the lively twitter stream during and after last year's Demo Jam. Thorsten Franz already wrote a great blog on theGenuine Demo Jam Awesomeness and he refers to another great blog by Michael Koch, What Is Wrong With SAP TechEd Demo Jam 2009.
Please allow me to share some thoughts on the Demo Jam as well.

What makes Demo Jam so great?
  • Live shows on stage by fellow SAP NetWeaver enthusiasts, some very serious and others hilarious 
  • Customers, Partners and SAP employees willing to offer spare (own) time to work on their proposal. No strings attached, just to show their peers what they came up with. 
  • An enthusiastic host who energizes the crowd 
  • Timing of the event: at the end of the first day a plenary session to allow everyone to join 
  • Location of the event: keynote hall to host a huge crowd 
  • Live broadcast on the internet 
  • It's the ultimate goal for an SAP NetWeaver professional to participate in Demo Jam just once in your life ;-) 

What makes SAP losing its Demo Jam power
  • Last year (2011) 5 out of 6 teams were SAP teams. I'm not saying SAP employees are not allowed to participate. But the balance just doesn't feel right. Were customers and partners not able to enter a good suggestion? I just can't believe that. 
  • And then, when you have entered a proposal but unfortunately got rejected - you only get an email stating the fact that you are not in. Thank you very much :( Why not adding a jury report to get the feeling that a team of professionals judged your idea. 
  • Evaluate the rules of the game. Is it about showing the latest releases of SAP products, innovations that are almost productized or is to show what you can achieve with SAP NetWeaver technology. One golden rule is that powerpoints are not allowed, please also exclude commercial presentations, either from SAP (like the Business Objects hype from a few years ago) or partners. 

The Gamification of Demo Jam
We're all talking a lot about the gamification of SAP, why not do the same with the Demo Jam. The Gamification of Demo Jam. Open up the event! Bring it back to the community!
  • A public jury - here on SDN - judges all the proposals. All community members are allowed to vote for one entry. The 6 proposals with the highest amount of votes make it to Demo Jam stage. 
  • At SAP TechEd the stage is set and the contestants have their 6 minutes of fame to do their thing.
  • After demoing, a professional jury shares a short feedback on what they saw. This jury is formed by hot shots out of the SAP world, let's say Vishal Sikka, Björn Goerke, ... ;-) Rock stars on stage, just like with The Voice talent show. 
  • When all demo's have been shown, the public jury comes in again. The crowd (onsite or online) cheers for their favorite team and the top 3 gets selected. 
  • With a short recap the 3 finalists are presented again, what did they bring to the stage and what was the opinion of the professional jury. 
  • Then the final battle: again the onsite and online crowd cheer for their favorite and the winner gets selected. 

It is fun!
Don't get me wrong, I really look forward to the Demo Jam in the SAP TechEd agenda. But I hope to see more SDN community participants on stage. Let's not forget that participating is fun!
At least that's what we (André Stuij, Bas Bach and I) experienced while preparing ourselves for the 2010 entry. We didn't get selected for SAP TechEd, but fortunately we were able to do 'our show' at the VNSG (Dutch User Group Conference) in April 2011. We ended up second, right after a team that showed Momentum (now called Work Order Mobile) on the iPad. And yes we felt bad about that, losing from a commercial available product.
But let's stop whining about these results, please laugh along with me when I replay the BPM trains Demo Jam entry:

(Blog posted on SDN at Feb 13, 2012)

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Meet the SAP Mentors

On the very last (look how tired I am ;-) day of SAP TechEd 2011 SAP Mentors got interviewed on their role within the SAP community.

Watch the complete series on Meet the SAP Mentors at YouTube.