Monday, 12 March 2012

Still plowing on...

I've been tied up with work again over the last few weeks. Sometimes, it seems that the more we do, the less we have achieved.

We are still having problems with our first overseas site. It appears that there are still items of data that have not yet been loaded. Some of the information for foreign language descriptions of products already in the system, some of the purchasing information records, contact data and even some banking data amongst others. Note that I did ask the question more than once and was told each time that all of the data load had taken place.

I should also highlight that none of this data load has been tested in the Development or Test systems - they gave up doing that a couple of months before New Year, and the data load is being done directly into the Production system. Of course, it will do a couple of items, then fail because something is wrong with the actual data (which I accept is down to us) - but then they just correct it and carry on as if this is the most normal thing in the world. When I suggested that it might be better to at least try in the test system, I was told that was a waste of time.

As for data in the Test and Dev systems - It's been agreed that we are going to sort that out by doing a client copy. The last time that was done, it took more than a week to complete and we had all sorts of issues for a couple of weeks after. I hope that we don't get the same this time as I am trying to do a number of other projects and my staff and I will not have time to fix any issues.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, we had the guys from one of the other overseas sites visit with us, so that they could see how the SAP system works. I was told that we would see their whole project team, but only 3 people had travelled over. I've since had a chance to speak to the VP for the site, and made some points to him about the need for a full project team - I also put together some descriptions of work required which have been sent to him.

I've been asked to go over to them next week to talk to their people in a bit more depth. It turns out that they have been promised that our project team will all be available to help out, which is going to be a shock to most of those guys, as no-one has discussed this with them. I've received an invite to a meeting in April and I think they will all be told then - I've been asked not to discuss it with them yet.

There is also another issue that is causing a lot of anger. When we first started, the consultants set up a process within the Sales area that did not work the way we wanted - they told us that was how it had to be and was considered "best practice". How we wanted it to work was just not possible. Once it was working, they found some problems and we had to get a couple of people in to fix those.

When the new set of consultants were working on our overseas site, they set things up so that the process worked the way we wanted - and they said that was actually the way they normally do it. They couldn't change the process for us at that time, but have now agreed a date to do some work to re-do some things so that our Sales people can use the same process in the same way.

To re-cap - we paid for about 4 weeks to set it up, then another 2-3 weeks to "fix" it, and now we will have to pay for another 4 weeks to change it to work the way we wanted in the first place. I wanted to challenge them over this, but I've been told that we will just have to suck it up and pay the money.

The best thing - I've recently had an email from the SI asking if I would be prepared to recommend them! They want to use our site to show a "highly successful" implementation, and possibly even use us as a case study. Astonishing!


  1. LOL @ the SI's request for recommendation.

    Perhaps, compared to their other implementations, yours is a much more successful one. Success (like everything else) is relative i guess...

  2. Are the SIs on the same planet as you?

  3. The author has articulated the status of IT projects very well. I had similar experience recently. Data was loaded directly into P as everyone(including customer) thought loading data into D and Q was a waste of time. The definition of success has changed. If SI and the customer can see eye to eye and talk at the end of the project, then it is considered a success. All other items are trivial to both customer and SI.

    It appears the customer's employees are also eager(job security? or lack of loyalty? or both?) to show successful completion as they also participated in the project execution.

    Based on my experiences, the problems discussed in the blog is not an isolated situation.

  4. At least you know the SI doesn't read your blogs

    1. I have to wonder about the disconnect between the SI (or their project / account management) and the customer. Afterall, this is becoming a rather well known blog... Perhaps EVERY implementstion team should ask their customer's employees "are YOU sapmesideways ?"

  5. If it was me i would be removing production logons from the consultants and forcing them to do things in dev and QA.

    You going to have a whole world of problems and pain during Enhancement packs, patches and upgrades moving forward.

  6. My view? Tell the SI, sure, you'll give them a reference. But don't say what kind of reference. Then, just tell the truth.