SAP Implementation – Success via Agile Offshore Teams

Mission

consistency was commissioned by an international energy company to facilitate the friction-free transfer of a business customer segment (small to medium-sized customers) by introducing and supporting a scaled Scrum approach. With the help of agile software development and the tracking of the “lean” principles, customer migration to the new target landscape (SAP) took place with only minor system adjustments. For cost reasons, the technical implementation was carried out by offshore teams. The Scrum framework allowed the teams to stay in close contact with customers and the onshore area.

Implementation

The initial team structure within the scaled Scrum approach was based on the well-known need for customisation in the existing SAP systems CRM and IS-U. Three parallel Scrum teams were formed: Customer acquisition and administration in SAP CRM, measurement data processing and device management, and settlement and claims management in SAP IS-U.

At the beginning of the project, a three-week “sprint 0” served to sharpen the project vision, to detail the rough adjustment requirements in the form of user stories and to define a “minimum viable product” (MVP). The development of a common understanding took place together onshore. On-site project visits by the central offshore teams made it possible to get to know each other.

As part of the nine-month implementation phase, the key challenge was to maintain communication and collaboration between onshore and offshore project members. The Scrum method also promoted a noticeable increase in the quality of communication and sense of community. All Scrum events (Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review & Retrospective) were conducted via video conferencing. Thus, teams in India and England were able to coordinate regularly across time zones and received continuous feedback from the customer side.

In each of the three SAP Scrum teams, Product Owners, Stakeholders and Acceptance Testers worked in the onshore implementation team. The other implementation team members including unit testers worked offshore. With the installation of a Scrum Masters on- and offshore, short coordination paths were achieved, and impediments quickly resolved.

Result

The quality and speed of the implementation of SAP changes and the cost-efficiency of the project had a lasting positive effect on the perception of agile methods in the company. The number of agile projects is being significantly increased, as well as an enterprise-wide transformation of the company prepared.

“In the past, successfully coaching a team of five companies, three nationalities and spanning 7,000 kilometres, with a time lag of several hours was virtually impossible. Today, digital communication technologies such as Skype for Business and Atlassian JIRA combined with lived agile values such as trust, transparency, empowerment and openness make it possible. Agile teams can communicate successfully around the clock and across continents to achieve goals together.”

SEBSATIAN LEMKE

Sebastian Lemke