Archive for the ‘SAP HCM’ Category
Testing – the stuff that can fill dreams, or nightmares. Here are some tips for a successful session -
DO – base your test scripts on a ‘requirements tracking matrix’ and your processes. This way you ensure you are using real world cases, as well as covering all requirements that you have defined. There should be a list of test scripts to be tested for each system change.
DO – keep a master test log with all scripts, associated owners and status. The testing coordinator will have a quick reference for testing progress.
DO – develop and maintain test scripts with the goal of re-use throughout the life cycle of the system.
DO – have a subject matter expert validate test results and sign off, even if testing is automated or delegated. Testing can be time-consuming but will ensure a smooth transition to support.
DON’T – think of testing as some mechanical, rote activity that you just have to plow through. Software testing is a discipline of its own, and a good tester asks good questions, listens to the customers, and is always concerned with quality.
DON’T – be tempted to skip testing. Even if it is a simple change or you have made similar changes many times – passing a change with an obvious error to the client causes annoyance and hurts confidence.
DON’T – be surprised that a change to another entity’s settings in a shared system somehow affects your processes. If you don’t know exactly the extent of the change you are doing – ask for advice, share with the team and test!
DON’T – wait till the last minute, but start planning your testing activities in the design phase. Think about how you will present testing results to different stakeholders, and make sure you seek feedback about your process. Correcting issues will take time, so ensure you get the testing process right from the start, otherwise you might be looking at delays.
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An HCM transformation project can face many challenges in the Initiation phase. It may be costly and the benefits might be unclear to staff. HR staff, managers and end users may be attached to the current system that has been molded to their needs over a long period of time. To start off right, companies should consider to:
- Obtain and showcase management support - The company must be clear in its objectives and communicate them to stakeholders. Emphasize the benefits of the new system for each stakeholder group. The best way is to ensure the Project Charter document is well read and understood.
- Create a clear and unambiguous Project Charter – the Project Charter should answer these questions:
WHY: Why are we doing this project, why now?
WHAT: What are the objectives, what will be achieved by the project?
HOW: How will we achieve the project goals? Which plans and methods will we use?
WHEN: When does the project start, what are the milestones?
- Identify stakeholders – make sure you identify all people and organizations impacted by your project. You should create a stakeholder register that you use in subsequent planning processes.
- Assign the right resources to the project - Their expertise and participation are critical to the success of the project. Often they must share this expertise with the project team while carrying on with their regular duties. Review high-level project plan/timeline, and clarify expectations. Discuss additional compensation and incentive plans, as this will help motivate the team. Appoint champions and ensure the Project Sponsor is visibly supporting the project.
- Train the assigned resources - The team members must be given enough information about the capabilities of the new supporting technology to help visualize to-be processes. While specific system training occur later in the project, system introduction prepares team members to ask the right questions.
- Review current processes and documentation – Familiarity with and well-documented company’s current processes is the starting point of transformation to desired end goals. Within organizations where process documentation is well developed, information sharing can be efficient. Make updates as necessary and note opportunities for improvement.
Knowledge of the tools, templates and methods required for the implementation is what we consultants bring to the table. Are you looking for the right support to kick-start a successful implementation?
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As someone who has been working in the SAP HCM arena for 12+ years, the project implementation methodology most familiar to me is Accelerated SAP. A few years back I started familiarizing myself with the PMI (www.pmi.org) methodology, and in September I took the PMP certification to get a new perspective on project management. Apart from the methodological differences, one thing that stood out for me was the PMI emphasis on Risk Management.
This emphasis on Risk Management takes the project from being re-active (issue resolution, fire-fighting) to being pro-active. It forces the project team to think hard about uncertain events in the future. This post is by no means an all-inclusive treatise on Risk Management, as there are books written on the topic – rather tips from my perspective that can come in handy:
1. Plan Risk Management - As every good Project Manager knows, you need to plan what you are going to do – i.e. how you are going to conduct Risk Management. At the end of the planning you should have defined the methodology (approaches, tools, data sources), roles and responsibilities, budgeting, timing (when and how the Risk Management process will be applied), risk categories, reporting formats, etc. These will be compiled into the Risk Management Plan.
2. Identify Risks – This is the process of identifying the risks that are relevant to your project and documenting them. The tools used here are for example brain-storming, SWOT analysis, assumptions analysis, diagramming techniques, etc. We recommend that risks be discussed in each team meeting or on a frequent basis, so to ensure that new risks are brought up, and old risks reviewed and acted upon if necessary. If there is a reluctance to be the ‘bearer of bad news’, management needs to be encouraging about any comments, as well as provide different channels to identify / gather the risks.
It’s important to engage not only the team members, but also other stakeholders in the project as this will provide a wider variety of risks and opportunities to consider. This activity can also raise their sense of ownership and commitment to the project. The main output of this activity is the initial Risk Register.
3. Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis – This is the process of prioritizing risks by analyzing two factors – probability and impact. For example, by creating a ‘probability and impact matrix’, the project benefits by addressing the high priority risks first. In the example grid below the red areas reflect the highest priority risks.
After you have performed Qualitative Risk Analysis, you should have an updated Risk Register, with ranking and categories of risks. If there are certain high priority risks that need further analysis, it can be useful to perform Quantitative Risk Analysis to numerically assess the impact on the project objectives.
4. Plan Risk Responses - This is the process of developing plans to enhance opportunities and reduce threats.
The strategies for positive risks include:
- exploit: taking active steps to ensure that positive risks occur.
- share: allocating some or all of the ownership of the opportunity to a third party that has a better chance of realizing the benefit for the project.
- enhance: by identifying the key drivers of the risk, you can e.g. add resources to increase the probability of occurrence.
- accept: this means that you will accept the opportunity if it happens, but will not take active steps to pursue it.
The strategies for negative risks include:
- avoid: changing the project management plan to avoid the risk entirely (e.g. extending schedule, reducing scope etc).
- transfer: transferring the impact of a risk to a third party (e.g. cost risk moves to the vendor in a fixed price contract).
- mitigate: taking action to reduce the probability or impact of risk occurring (e.g. choosing proven vendor, prototyping solution, etc).
- accept: most times it’s impossible to eliminate all threats. The best way is to create a contingency reserve, and allocate resources to the contingency should the risk occur.
It is paramount that you also assign ‘risk response owners’ – so that if the risk occurs you are not scrambling, but rather already have a responsible person assigned, with a plan in place to respond.
5. Risk management saves money! Since all projects have a budget, the appropriate course of action is to have a contingency or reserve for unexpected costs. We recommend to have a ‘reserve’ (for the so-called ‘known unknowns’) and a ‘management reserve’ (for the ‘unknown unknowns’). The important point is that by defining the risks, reducing uncertainty about outcomes – essentially by doing Risk Management – you can REDUCE reserves allocated, thereby saving the company money!
Are you already doing Risk Management in your projects? If you would like to see how Risk Management can make your projects more predictable with a higher chance of success – please send us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.