Boon or Bane: SAP Survival Kit – Volunteers, Tasks and Roles

Are there any volunteers?

Who is doomed to be a proper member of the required team? Will there be countless co-workers who stand in line and waiting in front of the boss’ office begging to step in and enjoy their new role for the time being? I really doubt it!

Anyway, maybe you have to forget those basic FAQ’s and just imagine that certain people might be picked randomly and not even personally or officially be informed about this procedure. Does that seem to be the big shot?

How can you really guarantee that the project team consists of ‘Mr/Ms Right or Mr/Ms Perfect? Sometimes you have to make decisions which are definitely not beloved by everybody, but in order to obtain the ultimate business success “beggars can’t be choosers” anyway.

Due to the mammoth size of the whole project with its vast majority of consultants already being involved, it goes without saying that each department is sentenced to provide an adequate number of qualified representatives. This selected group is supposed to symbolize the ‘hands-on-SAP-users elite’ being in charge for a certain amount of time.

Thus, you’d better be careful and accept their role which requires deep respect, tolerance with regard to mistakes and honest comfort concerning their level of frustration. Somehow we might differentiate between enthusiastic volunteers and farsighted pioneers being amongst the pool of experts.

Eventually, there is one question to be solved: who’s going to win the race? Will the pioneers turn out to be the gifted visionaries in the long run? Dilbert does actually refer to a straw man who ought to be bound to the organization. However, he suggests pondering about the fine line between participation and mockery.

Now let’s pretend – just for the sake of simplicity – that a trustful and loyal group of colleagues have pledged upon the project.

Nevertheless, we need to rely on the right boss as well in order to have our results properly supported throughout the process.

Here we go – this is a brilliant survey about some potential ‘boss types’ that’s going to help you finding your favorite CEO; either single features or mixed combinations are allowed by any means:

This is a short synopsis of all those different boss types mentioned by Dilbert:

Hostage Taker: Traps you in your cubicle and talks your ears off.

Fraud: Uses vigorous head-nodding to simulate comprehension.

Motivational Liar: Has no clue what you do, but says you’re the best.

Over-promoted: Tries to mask incompetence with poor communication.

Weasel: Takes credit for your hard work.

Moses: Perpetually waits for clear signals from above.

Perfect Boss: Dies of natural causes on a Thursday afternoon.

Now take your time and a wild guess for choosing the definition of your boss. May this handy reference support you appropriately! I would really be interested in getting a feedback regarding the various choices throughout the departments in real life.

Anyway, the goose is cooked, i.e. all vital team members have been luckily chosen and the decision-makers are ready to face the music.

Roles and Tasks

As a matter of fact, the probability of success depends upon the necessity of well-defined roles and a wide range of mandatory tasks to be complied regularly.

It goes without saying that the boss’ role is supposed to be (come) the most vital part regarding the progress of the project. This is mainly due to the fact that he/she is the one being in charge of managing a lot of paperwork as I have vividly experienced at my employer; signing tons of paper happens to be a murder confession in spite of its necessity to comply with the records. Once it’s over and done, you still can have closer look at that file.

His/Her role is officially called ‘process owner’; he/she has basically got the responsibility of keeping up with the project regarding deadlines, avoiding motivational deficiencies of the teams and taking care of honest trust and belief.

However, there might arise some misunderstandings concerning the justification of his function: you need to be careful about the difference of ‘smart’, ‘doomed’ and ‘dumb’ according to Dilbert’s experience.

One lesson that has to be learned is how to acquire the prerequisites of leadership and how to perceive this role in accordance with all kinds of circumstances; recognizing the right moment for a well-deserved promotion is mandatory, in particular because after several appraisals the job tends to match the people’s talents. As Dilbert cleverly concludes “Leadership is nature’s way of removing morons from the productive flow.”

Moreover, do not forget to literally inhale the essence of leadership the way Dilbert puts it: “You’re supposed to make superficial statements about how good the company is then hope something lucky happens and profits go up.”

However, due to multitasking requirements in our business world, we have to make a difference between the so-called “thought leader” and the “team leader” which is always closely linked to the CEO’s level.

I guess being a team leader is like floating “on cloud nine”, don’t you agree?

Dilbert wonderfully summarizes like this: “I have responsibility, but no authority. I feel like I’m an animal in some wrapped behavioral study.”

To make both ends meet, I shouldn’t neglect to mention the role of the ‘group leader business’, whose function is to serve as a “red thread” between the financial departments and the process owner.

It might work like this as Dilbert says: “I started by reasoning that anything I don’t understand is easy to do.”

Besides, we’ve got other interesting and challenging roles such as for instance:

Program Management: This group consists of several VIP’s from the consultant team that is supposed to professionally accompany the project via taking care of distribution lists, vacation plans, invitations, schedule, and all kinds of agendas.

I’d like to mention a well-proven example from Dilbert which doubtlessly can happen in many companies: “Your assignment is painfully difficult and probably unnecessary. If you need me, I’ll be complaining about you to your boss.”

In this context the notion of ‘fast-track-manager’ having no real experience might be considered accordingly?

It’s basically the boss’ task to work out the perfect range of team members provided that he is fully aware of the importance of his ‘physical treasures’: being entitled ‘the most valuable asset of the project team’ feels definitely good unless the factor of money turns out to be the leading treasure.

Here’s one ‘hands-on way’ how to proceed in this respect; why not relate to the famous Myers-Briggs Personality Types? According to Dilbert, it works like this: “If you don’t have a personality, one will be assigned to you by human resources. It might happen that we need a quiet dumb guy to pair with an extroverted thinker.”

With this knowledge in check, the following team structure has been established:

Key User [KU]: The key user basically represents the classical SAP user who is an essential part of the testing team. These people are considered the 1st level contact persons for the business in the long run. There is indeed a differentiation between the daily (SAP) user, the key (SAP) user and last but not least, the power (SAP) user, whose main task is to monitor and evaluate the process after the ‘Go Life’ deadline. Surprisingly, I did not yet come across a so-called hyper (SAP) user, which would perfectly fit into this routine.

Key User Speaker/Spokesmen [KUS]: This special role has been implemented for the sake of maintaining a counter-flow based communication between the business and the program management. Thus, the ‘KUS’ is supposed to be a linking pin without possessing any directive rights whatsoever. This makes the importance of this role pretty challenging, but almost impossible in order to decently satisfy the needs and requirements of all people involved.

Business Coordinator [BC]: Last but not least, I ought to emphasize the role of the business coordinator. As a matter of fact, the entire project was based upon two such fine roles, one for each sub-project-unit. Via this double-structured strategy, the intention of achieving and even sustaining a continuous and stringent up-to-date communication and coordination should have been taken for granted. The most essential task of the ‘BC’ was to be immediately ready if the mere glimpse of any kind of conflict happened to disturb the progress of the project. The overall notion is called escalation and I can tell you – there’ve been quite a lot of those tough meetings throughout the process. To me it sometimes seemed to be like a real ‘conflict-tourism’ that had taken place within our holy halls of daily wisdom.

Eventually figuring out the ideal structure of the team happens to be the real proof of the pudding. Anyway, there ought to be challenges, but no problems!

This delicate issue basically turns out to become a real challenge for many employees once such a big project has been committed. Do you seriously know how the mandatory selection process works?

Disclaimer – All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. This piece of writing has mature content. Reader’s discretion is requested. Since I used extracts or portions from other people’s works for referential purposes I would like to give credit to the author, respectively Scott Adams.

Source by Hermann Grassl

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