Many organizations looking to streamline their operations turn to SAP. However, SAP software is robust and takes time and effort to implement correctly. An SAP agile methodology can help address this challenge. This is because it allows for continuous refinement and adjustment throughout the project lifecycle.

“With the agile approach, you can shape your success in real-time.” – Chris Chaney, iT2 SAP AMS Program Manager, iT Services 2

Considering that only 50% of SAP implementation projects meet expectations, finding a way to seamlessly refine your solution before delivery is critical. Strict timelines may not give you room for mid-project refinement, which increases your chances of a disappointing outcome.

Now that we know why you should consider the agile approach, let’s take a look at what it is and how it works.

What is The SAP Agile Methodology For Implementations?

The SAP agile Methodology for implementations is a smart approach to managing SAP projects. It divides the project into smaller parts called ‘sprints.’ In each sprint, your team works on a small part of the project, which allows for ongoing real-time adjustments as needed.

SAP Activate Methodology vs. Agile

SAP activate methodology is a framework for deploying SAP products. It is a flexible and adaptable methodology designed for businesses adopting new SAP solutions. That might leave you wondering why you should bother with the agile method if SAP has their own approach.

Let’s take a look at the key differences to find out.

SAP Activate MethodologyAgile Methodology
FocusImplementing SAP solutions in a phased approachDelivering value through iterative cycles
FlexibilityCan be adapted to fit the needs of the projectFlexibility is the main focus
Project ManagementStructured into 6 phasesManaged with sprints and regular stand-ups
ChallengesCan be rigid and complex, especially for large projectsRequires explicit and well-documented instructions to prevent miscommunication
BenefitsProvides a reference solution for immediate useAllows for flexibility and rapid adaptability

You may decide that you prefer the activate methodology for your specific project. Use the above table as a quick frame of reference for which approach may best suit your needs.

SAP Agile Methodology Steps

Now comes the answer to the question you’re surely asking, how do I execute the agile method? Here is a step-by-step guide on how it’s done. Remember, these steps are for each phase of your project. Don’t try to complete the whole project in one iteration.

1. Project Initiation & Team Assembly

Like any project, your first step is to define your scope, objectives, and team members. You should also divide your project into phases. Each iteration will represent these phases and each phase will begin at step 2. 

In an agile project, the key roles include:

  • Product Owner: This is the person responsible for managing the product backlog and ensuring that the team works on the project’s top priorities. 
  • Scrum Master: The scrum master is the team’s coach. Their job is to help the team use agile practices and principles. 
  • Development Team: This is the group of professionals who carry out the work of each sprint.

2. Product Backlog Creation

The product owner is responsible for creating the product backlog. A product backlog is a comprehensive list of all the features, functions, and requirements that the final product should have at the end of the sprint.

3. Sprint Planning

The team and product owner meet and agree upon which backlog items should be addressed in the upcoming sprint. This process usually involves estimating the effort required for each backlog item.

4. Sprint Execution

The team works on the tasks identified during sprint planning. This phase usually lasts about 1-4 weeks. Each day, the team meets for their daily stand-ups to discuss their progress and any blockers.

5. Backlog Grooming

This is an ongoing process during sprint execution where the product backlog is continuously updated and reprioritized. New requirements can be added as they arise, and existing ones can be updated or removed.

6. Sprint Review

At the end of the sprint, the team reviews the work completed. This is a time to get feedback and adapt the product backlog for future sprints if needed.

7. Release

This phase only occurs if the result is deemed functional enough to implement. If it’s not, then this phase is skipped and the process repeated until satisfied. This would be the point where you may roll-out (or partially roll-out) your SAP solution.

8. Feedback & Repeat

After implementation, you should continue to collect feedback from end users. Use this feedback to begin a new sprint that irons out any wrinkles in your solution.

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The Agile Methodology in SAP S4/HANA Projects

Going agile in SAP projects follows similar steps no matter your solution. However, due to the sheer scale of SAP S/4HANA, there are some unique adaptations that you may need to consider in your agile methodology. 

These considerations include:

So Much To Do, So Little Time

The urgency to meet your go-live date compared to the scale of the project can be overwhelming. The key is to manage work in clear sprints with daily stand-ups, regular backlog grooming, and retrospectives. This way, moving towards completion feels more like a series of molehills than one big mountain.

Cross-Functional Dependencies

Different teams working in silos can cause unexpected surprises due to cross-functional dependencies​. The solution here is proactive communication. By promptly sharing updates across teams, you can dodge surprises and keep everyone on the same page.

Budget & Capacity Constraints

With agile, flexibility is paramount, but this can often clash with budget and capacity constraints. This is where project leadership is crucial. Striking a balance between the need for flexibility and practical realities is the key to keeping a large-scale project on track.

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The ‘Wagile’ Approach

Sometimes, the best way to complete big projects in little time is by combining the agile method with the traditional waterfall approach. This blend is often referred to as the ‘Wagile’ approach. It preserves the strict timeline of the waterfall method while adding the flexibility of the agile method.

Need a Hand as You Implement Agile Methodologies?

If you’re new to agile development, this probably seems like a lot. Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone. There’s a simple way to get expert help from experienced SAP project managers, fast.

iT Services 2 is focused on matching the right SAP consultants to the right projects on our first try. If you’re in need of someone who knows the agile approach, we can help you find them! So, you know that you’re getting top-tier service.

Contact us today to get started.