Skip to main content

PMO for SAP: 15 tips for a killer PMO that will deliver your S/4HANA migration - Part One

How to improve your SAP PMO

Everyone is confused about what to do when it comes to S/4HANA.

There’s one thing that’s certain though - when you do make the move to S/4HANA you’re going to have a massive project on your hands.

In the SAP Success Report we discovered that only 50% of SAP projects meet their business objectives. That means that every single SAP project you undertake is a massive risk.

And, when you throw a complete unknown like S/4HANA into the mix, it’s fair to say things could go badly wrong and fast.

So what can you do?

For starters you need to make sure that the project runs smoothly from the off. While you can’t guarantee what will happen when you’re implementing a completely new piece of software like SAP S/4HANA, you can make sure your project is run efficiently and effectively with a crack SAP PMO team.

Here are 15 tips from our own SAP PMO experts that will give you the killer PMO you need to deliver any S/4HANA project.

Let’s get started.

#1 - All-star SAP PMO meetings.

Meetings are the worst. You get dragged into a room full of people you barely know to listen to one person talk about things that you don’t really care about.

This is bad enough at the best of times, but when you’re up against a project deadline it’s the sort of thing that will make you go full-on Phil Mitchell smashing up Albert Square with a baseball bat.

It’s no surprise then that so many people are consistently late or fail to turn up for meetings, throwing the whole agenda off course, often resulting in a failed meeting with no real actionable outcomes.

So why are we still wasting time on meetings like this?

What you can do to improve your SAP PMO?

Make your meetings all-star events.

Think of it like the Avengers. The Avengers isn’t Thor, Iron Man and also Karen from finance bored out of her skull doodling on a notepad.

Course not - it’s the main guys, all with important jobs to do, punching people in the face and saving the world. And that’s what your meetings need to be (but please - no face-punching unless it’s absolutely necessary).

Make sure that everyone who is in the meeting room is there for a purpose and has something to do or say in the meeting - get it down to as few people as possible. Meetings are not a spectator sport so don’t treat them like it.

Also, issue minutes from every meeting stating who attended and who didn’t.

Why it works on your SAP PMO

If people have something assigned to them or an update to provide they are far more likely to attend the meeting. They will also feel like they are needed and have a purpose in attending - which appeals to the big-headed ego-driven monsters in all of us.

We’ve all been to meetings have that 'key' attendees and then a number of people who no understands why they are there. What’s the point? Keep the attendee list to those who are really required and who input to the meeting.

If you don’t your meetings will get a reputation as boring waffle-fests and people will avoid them like the plague. And, when you finally do need someone there to contribute, you run the risk of them failing to show up.

Instead - make your meetings as all-star events.

Kick out the losers who don’t need to be there, and then when people do get an invite you know they’ll show up.

Bonus SAP PMO Tip: Name and Shame

Publish the minutes from every meeting along with who did attend and who didn’t attend.

This will show the people who didn’t turn up all the important decisions they missed out on making, and will make sure they turn up next time… or else!

#2 - Supercharge SAP project Risk and Issue Meetings

Risks and Issues meetings are attended by key resources and take anything upwards of 10 hours delivery time from the project team. They’re a big investment in vital resources so failing to run them efficiently can have a drastic effect on your project. One of the worst inefficiencies that occurs is continuously moving forward dates a week at a time, or wasting time discussing items with distant dates when you could be sorting out real problems that threaten the project right now.

What can you do to improve your SAP PMO?

1 - Lock down the ability to edit due dates.

This stops people simply pushing items back when they haven’t been done and makes you deal with the problem right now, and it will make them think twice about putting due dates against items without properly thinking them through.

2 - Order your items in an effective way.

While you need to know what the big and scary items are, it’s also vital you know what the most timely items are. Set up your document in such a way that it can easily be filtered by importance and by date. The PMO should always conduct a review of the items being presented prior to the meeting to prepare - it is the PMOs job to know what items on that list need to be discussed today and to make sure they are resolved in the meeting.

Why it works on your SAP PMO

Locking down dates forces project members to think through risks and issues at the point of raising them. RAID isn’t about showing off that you’ve got the most important job or covering your arse by throwing everything on the RAID log so you can say “well look I warned you” when things go wrong.

Make proper considerations when logging items about what their real due date is and then lock it. This helps all stakeholders manage the mitigations and resolutions. It also helps with time management of individuals and teams, and means people aren’t working to meet fake deadlines.

It also means that you can’t simply move due dates back instead of fixing the problem. If you’re having to move the due date because of a blocker, instead leave the due date where it is and take action to clear the blockage.

When you order your items correctly it means that you can deal with the items that most desperately need addressing first. If you talk about the big and scary risks first the meeting will run out of time as every man and his dog gives their 2-pence on the issue. While these items do need to be considered, they won’t impact the project for a while so they aren’t a priority right now.

Addressing the items with the nearest due date first it means you get all the most pressing issues -the issues that could actually go overdue - dealt with in the meeting.

Then if there is time left at the end you can all pontificate over the big scary issues that loom over the project. Focus on getting the things you can actually fix now done first to keep the meetings efficient and effective.

#3 - Go with the Flow of SAP PMO

PMO teams and processes are sometimes seen as inflexible and 'deliverable tick-box' focussed. As a PMO this can be a frustrating accusation as after all, who was it who asked for all these deliverables in the first place? At the end of the day though it is the PMO’s job to govern and facilitate the project, not to direct it and tell people exactly what to do. For a project to be successful you need a PMO that can support the PM, SI’s and Execs in any decisions they make.

What can you do to improve your SAP PMO?

Create a project framework by scaling down your delivery method.

By focussing on stage gates, mandating fewer deliverables, and putting more onus on SIs to deliver solution outcomes using whichever method is best fit, the PMO can double down on doing the work that facilitates project delivery and makes sure the project is being governed properly.

Bonus points if you can agree stage gate requirements (deliverable wise) as part of Project set up in the Analyse Phase.

Why it works on your SAP PMO

This is so effective because it means the PMO can focus on what they are there to do - project governance. If Project Managers, SIs and Execs start to make changes it is the PMO’s job to help those changes come about.

Let the SI focus on product delivery, the PMO focus on governance and that way IT and Business leaders can be assured that effort is being spent by the right people on the areas where they can deliver most value.

Find out the next tips in the series.

SAP PMO Tips part 2

Read more SAP and S/4 HANA Insights

7 Habits of Highly Successful SAP S/4HANA PMOs

A great PMO acts as a trusted advisor, a standards enforcer and the heartbeat of delivery.

Invest in a great PMO and you'll deliver your next SAP or S/4HANA project on time, on budget and on value.

Download "the 7 Habits of Highly Successful PMOs" and learn how to make your PMO perform on your next SAP project.

7 Habits of Highly Successful SAP S/4HANA PMOs