Project Management: Pitfalls to Avoid, Best Practices to Follow

Product Details

Implementing functionality in an SAP system always involves more than just the technology. As the 12 authors in this anthology show, the accompanying changes in business processes need just as much attention.

This recently published collection of SAP Professional Journal articles shares their advice based on their many years of experience.

For example, George Anderson and John Dobbins focus on the top 10 worst ERP project practices they have seen. Then George follows up in a second article with tips on how to avoid them. Amy Stapleton takes a similar tack with her 10 practices to avoid, including paying for consultants, not your own people, to get smarter.

Doug Whittle gives extensive advice on how to manage the ever-present politics involved in any change. He explains how creating stakeholder maps can help ensure the success of your project, and presents the three steps for implementing them: Take inventory of the stakeholders, map relationships between stakeholders, and build strategies to gain and maintain stakeholder support. You will see that the stakeholders may not be who you think they are.

This anthology, which was curated from the extensive project management content on SAP Experts ( is packed with best practices and tips on processes, such as planning for a project, training your staff, preparing for a go-live cutover, and testing.

At SAP Experts, our mission is to help you build your skills and achieve the business goals of the organizations you serve. Our content offerings include short, quick-tip articles as well as longer technical tutorials and video content to help you do your job better and faster. All the content is reviewed by a team of expert technical advisors, many of whom are also contributors. To learn more about obtaining a membership to SAP Experts, visit

Table of Contents

Top 10 Worst ERP Project Practices ..... 3
by George Anderson and John Dobbins
George Anderson and John Dobbins warn against 10 mistakes they continue to see made in ERP projects.

Why We Keep Making the Same Mistakes: Systemic Issues and Cultural Challenges ..... 9
by George Anderson
George Anderson explains several systemic issues behind why SAP project and support teams keep re-living the same mistakes year after year and then provides several measures and actionable next steps you can take to remedy the problem.

Cutover to Production – From Project to Solution ..... 14
by D. Russell Sloan
When it’s time to go live with your SAP implementation, it is important that you have a clean handover of your project content to your operational solution. The migration from project to production should be done in a controlled and consistent way. See how to minimize disruption to operational support and coordinate the release of the new functionality with things that may already be happening in production support such as break fix or minor enhancements.

Using Standards for a More Maintainable Solution ..... 27
by D. Russell Sloan
D. Russell Sloan explains the value of establishing and adhering to standards when you are delivering a solution.

Keep Your Training Life Cycle On Track So It Doesn't Delay Your Project ..... 37
by AbduNaser Shhub
It is important for the sake of project success that training activities begin and end at the times initially planned. A delay in training can have a negative impact on the project’s budget, scope, and time. In this case study of a six-month SAP project, I found that the cost of training can go up by 30 percent when training is delayed by three months. Project sponsors and training professionals should anticipate the possibility of training delays due to unexpected issues. In such cases, alternative plans should always be in place to deal with the situation.

Best Practices for Planning, Testing, and Deploying Changes in a Mature SAP ERP Landscape ..... 42
by Michael A. Moore
Michael Moore, an SAP technical solution architect, explains the benefits of using an N+1 landscape model when making project and production support changes, including avoiding long production support freezes. He shows how to implement it, drawing on lessons learned during deployment.

10 Key Steps for Empowering SAP Project End Users ..... 48
by Prashanth Southekal
Giving project end users a stake in SAP project implementations offers some great benefits for the business. Despite the fact that every SAP project is context sensitive, there are 10 main steps, based on five vital parameters — system, solutions, data, process, and people (roles) — that hold the key for empowering the SAP project end user.

Improve Your Planning and Execution Process for a Successful SAP Go-Live ..... 52
by Ramachandra Chemudupati
Learn about the Technical Implementation Gantt (TIG) methodology for improved planning and execution of your cutover. Understand the approach to build and review the TIG, its execution, and the benefits of using it. Also understand some of the pitfalls that you can avoid and best practices you can put to use for a successful go-live.

True Tales from a One-Man Tech Team ..... 68
by David Wisor
Learn tips and techniques to help you get organized and manage your projects better.

Implement Proven Testing Practices and Techniques for Large-Scale Global SAP Rollouts ..... 77
by Jose Fajardo
Learn how to avoid mistakes that plague many SAP implementations associated with flawed testing approaches. Take away valuable information that you can use as a baseline for either enhancing the status quo at your respective projects or for avoiding potential mistakes before testing is initiated.

Use Stakeholder Maps to Secure Support for Your SAP Projects and Ensure Successful Implementations ..... 85
by Doug Whittle
There are two givens you can always count on when you implement an SAP system. First, you will be dealing with a multitude of stakeholders, each with different expectations, needs, and behaviors. Second, the more stakeholders you encounter, the more you’ll find yourself mired in internal politics that can manifest themselves in a variety of ways, from outright resistance, to loss of executive support at critical decision points, to individuals leaving the project team, to pockets of users failing to attend the training before go-live. This article guides you through the process of building and using “stakeholder maps” to help you manage the relationships that will ultimately make or break the success of your project.

What Is Change Management and Why Is It Important? An Overview of Change Management and the Seven Precepts That Can Help Every SAP Project ..... 101
by Gerhard Friedrich
Change management is the process of matching the expectations of those affected by an implementation project to the results they are receiving — it helps people decide whether a given project is good for them. This is the first of two articles that help you successfully manage the change that comes with all projects. This first article provides an overview of change management and the seven precepts that you must address when considering a specific SAP project. It provides advice to help you avoid the change management pitfalls that have derailed many projects. The second article maps typical change management tasks to the phases of an example SAP implementation project.

Performing Change Management Tasks During Each Phase of an SAP Project to Achieve the Greatest ROI and Ensure Successful Implementations ..... 108
by Gerhard Friedrich
Change management isn’t just about communication and training — at its core, it is the strategy and tactics involved in convincing end users that an SAP implementation is an extension of their ability to do their jobs more easily and effectively. This is the second of two articles on how to perform successful change management. The first article defines the change management concept and the seven change management precepts that can help ensure the success of SAP implementation projects. This second article describes how to apply change management tasks to the phases of a project that follows the AcceleratedSAP (ASAP) implementation methodology.

Avoiding the 10 Worst Practices of SAP Development Projects ..... 118
by Amy Stapleton
It is a common misconception that unsuccessful SAP projects, regardless of purpose or scale, fail due to a lack of time, money, and/or people. Research shows that this is rarely the case. Projects typically fail for other reasons, like faulty business practices. While there are obviously an infinite number of things that can go wrong, this article zeroes in on the 10 worst — the ones that are the most common, potentially detrimental, and above all avoidable. And although some of these observations may seem obvious at first glance, as an intertwined whole, they will provide a strong safety net for your next project.