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sap programme planning advice
Stuart Browne14-Mar-2022 10:01:123 min read

Is your SAP project plan a sight for sore eyes?

My shoulder is in a bad way.

Although the doctor says it’s a trapped nerve and that it will eventually go away, I don’t really buy his prognosis.

When I raise my arm above the vertical and behind me I scream in pain. My whole arm goes limp and I have the most excruciating pain on the tip of my shoulder.

For the few hours a night I sleep, I sleep like Tutenkamun.

Painkillers don’t do much. Even the horse tranquillisers and anti-inflammatories that the doctor prescribed only numb the pain for a few hours at a time.

I’m still playing touch rugby 3 times a week though. But I often vanish during the game to hide at full-back and wince. I’m hoping my fellow players don’t read this and attack my left side.

Sorry, right side. Yes, that’s right - the right side is right. Attack my right.

I’m grumpy. I’m tried. I’m encumbered.

Last night though I remembered something. A tube of Deep Heat in the kitchen drawer.

I applied it liberally and waited for the magic to happen. 5 minutes later a burning hot shoulder and an easing of the pain for the first time in 3 weeks.

Whilst in the drawer I found a pack of Sophie’s make-up wipes and took one to clean my hands.

You see, I wear contact lenses. This was 9 PM and I’d be taking them out in the next hour or so. Having made that mistake before, I won’t do it again. I wiped my hand carefully. Then, after I’d cleaned my teeth, I washed my hands so hard that I think I even cleaned the grooves between my fingerprints.

I took my lenses out and and feel into a brilliant night’s sleep, dropping off to the sweet smell of camphor.

Next morning I awoke early.

I had a plan.

A 2 step plan.

I’d put my contact lenses in early so that I could apply more Deep Heat before heading into the office for an early start.

It was a good plan.

As I smugly drove in to the office, I thought how simple plans can be. Do X and then do Y. Don’t do Y and then X.

In its simplest form, this is dependency management.

If I’d have got those dependencies the other way around, I’d have to replan.

This would have been the order of events.

  1. Put Deep Heat on shoulder
  2. Put Contact Lenses in
  3. Scream
  4. Claw out contact lenses and exacerbate the problem
  5. Cry and scream a little more
  6. Wear my glasses to work all day

My original Plan - Plan A - resulted in me driving smugly to work in my contact lenses.

The replan - Plan B - would have had a very different outcome. Swap smug drive for ruined day. Swap sparkly eyes for blurry red eyes. Swap clarity for blurred vision. Swap comfort for pain.

SAP Dependency Management

I’ve been involved in dozens of large SAP programmes where people have casually said “We need to do a replan…”

Of course, they didn’t have Deep Heat in their eyes. They’d missed some milestones or a major stage gate. They’d suffered some pain and realised that more pain would be on the way if they didn’t change things up.

As a process, replanning is fine. It’s a necessary evil on most complex SAP programmes.

However, it’s easy to get lost in the process of replanning and lose sight of the fact that you’ll achy a different outcome because of it.

If getting a single dependency (Deep Heat before Contact Lenses) can have catastrophic consequences on a 2 step plan, imagine what happens when you fail to manage dependencies on a 1,000 line MS Project Plan.

What’s more, there are certain activities on that 1,000 line plan that are the equivalent of Deep Heat.

And, once you get Deep Heat on your hands, everything you touch gets infected.


Stuart Browne

Stuart has held leadership roles in the SAP ecosystem over an 18 year period, spanning consultancy, delivery management, practice development, sales, marketing and analyst relations. With an eclectic mix of skills and one of the largest SAP networks in the UK, Stuart has established a formidable reputation that has enabled Resulting to guide SAP customers through complex challenges.