In most enterprise organizations, project management of SAP-based business applications is run in a traditional waterfall manner. This means that different teams oversee their own siloed component of the solution (e.g. CRM, Finance, Logistics). Multiple teams cannot simultaneously introduce change to the same object (e.g. a report). They must lock down the object or work in sequence, a practice that enforces waterfall. Similarly, application teams lack visibility into the release pipeline and status of other teams. This is often the cause of release conflicts, resulting in breaking and delaying integration cycles.
SAP and the Minimum Viable Business Process (MVBP)
The agile methodology, as first introduced in 2011, is based on the rapid delivery of a minimum viable product (MVP). It results in validated learning, driving innovation and business value realization. In the contexts of web-based software products, that minimum viable product is often no more than a feature or functionality. However, this cannot be the case for SAP-based products.
As any SAP application owner is aware, any change to an SAP function may impact downstream systems, transactions, and business processes. In other words, the release of a new or changed single feature or functionality is most likely to impact an entire business process. Therefore, the minimum viable SAP product is in fact, a changed or new business process.
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Scaling Agile in SAP – Barriers and Resolutions
A recent Forrester report on the state of agile development identified three current roadblocks to scaling agile:
- Resistance to behavioral change
- A skills gap
- Inadequate budgeting