Sunday, 3 April 2011

...And yet another.

When we first started creating the roles for users, I took the advice of the consultants - but after a short while, realised that it was going to get a bit more complicated than I had originally expected. For that reason, I changed the names of the roles, using Z1 for those at our first site, Z2 at the second, Z3 at the third.

The reason for this was that we actually needed to define some limits to what people on each site would be able to do. We didn't want the staff at our second site to have the oppotunity to make changes to items from the main site. This seemed to work quite well, but then I found that some roles were getting very big - and at that point, I started to split the roles down.

We had a hierarchy - sales clerk, sales manager and added a couple of other items to this to allow some staff more access to do certain functions. So for example, 2 staff are involved in contract review, so we have a role for that. 2 other staff are involved in dealing with certain groups of customers, and that is a seperate role as well.

There were some issues right from the beginning, as the project team didn't really understand the concept of permissions - I would regularly be asked to give someone access to something, and when I pointed out that it was to the role that permission was granted, they would get very frustrated. However, it appears that for the most part, they now do understand and we do have a set of roles that serve our needs.

When we started on our first overseas site, I copied the basic roles from our second site, changed the organisational levels and applied user accounts to get them started as Z4. I felt that as we had most of the authorisations already confirmed, this would be pretty much what was needed. I sent details through to the relevant people, including the consultants that I had been told would be doing the necessary work, and waited for some minor changes.

Up until the first day of the work to go thru the processes with the staff, I had heard nothing. Later in the day, I received an email from a completely new consultant asking me to give permission for the staff member to have access to certain t-codes. When I checked, about 80% of those were already in the relevant role, and the member of staff had been added to the role. The few remaining were t-codes that we didn't actually use - we used different ones to do the same job.

I had several more emails requesting access, each time on the day of the process testing rather that before hand. In several cases, I pointed out that the t-codes being requested were restricted to certain people. It was decided that currency rates, period closure etc would be done centrally, rather than have different people at each site getting involved. However, I was also asked to provide access to certain t-codes that I was very reluctant to hand over - why would the staff members need access to things such as SCC4, STMS, SE16N just to name a couple. These are only for administrative positions, and I could see lots of issues if they had access to these.

What I didn't know was that the staff at our overseas site had made a complaint that they didn't feel that they were getting the relevant training they needed and this was passed to our CEO. He then discussed this with the director of the SI, who basically said that I was holding up the work by not providing the required access.

I was dragged into the CEO's office, and to be brief, he told me that the SI were insisting that I give all of the staff at our overseas site the profile SAP_ALL. I tried to point out that this was not good practice etc. but this cut no ice. I highlighted that we needed to get the roles right, but he had been told that this could be done afterwards - in order to get the site up and running as soon as possible, they needed SAP_ALL.

At that point, I told him that if he wanted this, I required him to put it in writing - and I thought that he was going to explode. I won't go into the discussion because it's not necessary, but it was very unpleasant. However, I did get the instruction in writing as I requested.

Someone has subsequently said that he thinks that's a good thing - that when things go wrong, I can produce the written instruction, and throw it back at him. That's not why I did this - when it goes wrong, I will not bother arguing, I'll just get on and try to resolve the problem. My reason for asking for the instruction to be in writing, was to make sure that he understood just how seriously I take the issue.

As it happens, the process testing over at the other site is way behind. They still have almost all of the work to go thru still, and based upon the last project plan, we are about a month behind. There is going to be a big push in a couple of weeks and I have done some work to allow some of our people to do some testing for them. However, I'm not convinced that this will be of any value, as it it appears the consultants are teaching the staff over there different processes to what our people worked on.

I have reason to believe that the SI are pushing to get our overseas site operational on the agreed date, no matter if they are ready or not. I think that this is potentially a serious error of judgement - if they are not ready, we should admit that, and hold off until they are ready. Pushing for them to go live without them being ready could be disastrous - and not just for them, but for the company as a whole.


  1. Can't stop laughing, sorry. Did you ever consider changing your job? You now have a significant experience in SAP and in other IT matters. I've been reading your posts since the beginning and it's clear that the project doesn't seem to bring to any positive result.

    When I read that the CEO insisted and confirmed in a written form that you have to give SAP_ALL to the distant site's users, I think it's a sign, a big red blinking warning sign that yells "imminent destruction, leave the building now" like in the James Bond movies. Follow the sign, leave now !

  2. Dev,

    I was thinking more of the original "Lost in Space" - "Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!" :)

    I have considered changing jobs - and have even applied for a couple. But no joy so far. There is certainly nothing being advertised locally, so it would be a relocation, which I don't mind, although it would have to include the family.

    Do you think just under 4 years could be accepted by recruiters as "significant experience"? It would be interesting to know how they really value it.

    As always, thanks for the comments.

  3. Hi, in Europe 4 years of experience is considered as senior. I was once sitting near a consultant in a training in Paris. He was attending the meeting but had already been exposed to business in the past 2 months. He had 2 month experience but was already charged. It's incredible, isn't it.
    I have a valuable suggestion for you : it seems you enjoy writing and I enjoy reading your blog (I've read ALL of them). Don't you think it would be a good idea to write a kind of book ?

  4. 4 years senior? Wow, I was thinking that there are so many people with 10, 20 even 30 years experience, my 4 years would be seen as very small potatoes. I had heard of so many with limited experience, (and of course I've seen a few) but even so - it's just difficult to accept.

    You're not the first to suggest that I write a book - a couple of others have been kind enough to say that they like my writing and that they think it would be a good idea. I do kind of like the idea, but I'm not sure if it would actually be worth any money. Still, it might be a boost to my ego to see something of mine in print!