Closure or acceptance criteria is a simple but powerful concept in project management. It is a clear, unambiguous definition of what is required to satisfy the completion of a task agreed by all accountable parties, as well as a repository for the evidence and authorisation of the closure. Depending on an organisation’s appetite for rigour, this can be dialled up or down to fit requirements. The following are some examples of how this practice can facilitate successful SAP S4/HANA implementations.
The pre-project phase of any initiative is critical to success and can be the most difficult to complete if done diligently. For a SAP S4/HANA implementation this includes building a business case, evaluating the current technology and process landscape, and crafting the strategic plan. Clearly defining the expectations of these deliverables and imposing accountability on the overall approver ensures quality output and prevents their creation becoming a “tick box” exercise. These artefacts form the “North Star” for a project and should never be defined with haste or negligence. In a highly regulated environment (such as financial services) having a common storage location for evidence can facilitate the process of satisfying regulators and saves teams scrambling through various repositories to locate a document. They know exactly where to look and can see the documented evidence, who submitted it when, and who approved it.
Stakeholder buy-in can be one of the most frustrating elements of any project. As a SAP S/4HANA implementation involves cross functional teams, there are various individuals involved who need to be prepared to go on the journey and sign up to the expected outcomes. SAP’s Activate methodology recommends holding a series of Fit to Standard workshops across business areas such as Finance and Supply Chain. Formally documenting attendance and agreed decisions at these meetings is an effective way of capturing as a matter of record that key stakeholders are onboard and prevents denial of responsibility later in the project.
Testing is another critical phase of a SAP S4/HANA implementation and inattention towards creating fit for purpose UAT scenarios has been the downfall of many ERP projects. Prior to the Realize phase of the Activate methodology, end users should meticulously define test scripts which stress every conceivable business scenario and capture who performed it. Once again naming the individual who carried out the work and who reviewed it fosters a culture of quality and attention to detail.
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