When Good SAP Projects Go Bad

Posted on January 2015 By Speller International
Good Sap Goes Bad

​So many SAP Projects are success stories. Great planning, top teams and attention to detail are often top of the list when it’s time to put a project into action, resulting in on time and on budget projects.

Sadly, not every project comes up a success. That’s why we’ve decided to talk about what issues can cause a project to derail – the good news is that many of these are easily avoidable if you know what to look for.

Here are the most common villains in the story of the SAP project:

Poor Preparation

If initial preparation and planning is done incorrectly, your SAP project is destined to fail. Ensuring you are building the right product or solving the right problem avoids producing an unnecessary – and unwanted – solution. Understanding how the client intends to run its business within the SAP System ensures planning for the right implementation.

The Untimely Timeline

Unrealistic and overly aggressive project timelines are a recipe for disaster. If a fixed price has been set for a project, there can be pressure to implement the project quickly, making it rushed, where mistake can be made or by setting an unrealistic timeline. The project timeline also requires proper coordination and execution for effective progress to be made. Without proper management (or when the timeline is being micro-managed) progress can be weighed down by unnecessary inefficiencies. A good project plan with a well-defined work breakdown structure is the core factor of a successful project.

The Blown Out Budget

Heavily linked to unrealistic timelines, a budget that is too low for the size of the project can cause spectacular failure. Too-low budgets can be attributed to a lack of understanding in terms of the extent of the project. Similarly, a lack of understanding when it comes to the actual work required (particularly technical work) can lead to budgeting that is too low and, ultimately cause budget blow-outs.

The Silent Type

Communication issues are one of the most common problems leading to project failure. These issues can relate to the business not communicating effectively with the partner, or the partner not communicating with the business – or both. Internally, communication issues can occur within the team on what and how they are completing tasks and not sharing information that could be vital to someone else’s task.

The ‘Not-So-Super’ Super Team

Having the ‘right’ kind of SAP expertise on the project is paramount. Projects require a strong lead with the right kind of leadership skills to keep the project and the team on track. They also require a balance of the correct SAP skills, to ensure the work is completed properly and of a quality level. In order for the project to meet deadlines, the team requires solution expertise and or experience in delivering similar projects. There is no point getting to the Go Live stage of the project if you don’t have any SAP Training and Documentation expertise in place to train staff on how to actually use the system, so making sure your team checks all the boxes is paramount.

The Cut Corner

As with any project, a SAP implementation without quality deliverables essentially equals a failed project. Where quality corners are cut or insufficient testing is completed, serious flaws can wreak havoc once the project moves into the implementation phase. By carefully analysing the project to identify and fully understand the complexities involved prior to timelines and budgets being set, you can reduce the risk of needing to cut corners to fit into both deadlines and budget.

To quote The Art of War, “If you know both yourself and your enemy, you can win 100 battles without jeopardy.” Now you know your enemies – the villains of the SAP story. As long as you know yourself, your SAP projects are sure to see success.