SAP Solution Manager (SolMan) – Focused Build is a powerful tool from SAP to manage requirements-to-deploy processes in large, agile projects. However, like with any other solution, if the tool is not implemented and executed in the way that it is intended to, it can pose major challenges to a smooth delivery of your project.
Having worked with SolMan Focused Build and experienced some of the mishaps and errors in implementation and execution, we share with you five key factors to be kept in mind in your SolMan Focused Build journey.
1. Recognise the dependencies between SolMan as a tool and your project methodology
SolMan Focused Build is developed to fulfill requirements of agile project delivery. Hence, it is important for you to keep in mind how your project methodology (waterfall, agile, hybrid) aligns with the foundations of the SolMan tool. Customization, as per your project needs, to SAP’s Activate methodology should be well thought out and executed as early as possible to avoid fundamental adjustment during the project execution.
2. Clarify ownership of the tool – A dedicated team overseeing maintenance, customization and training
For large projects, it is important to have a dedicated team that takes ownership of the SolMan Focused Build tool and takes responsibility for the following key aspects
- Maintenance of the tool
- Providing guidance on tool methodology
- Training and support of users
- Ongoing customization of the tool to enhance project efficiency
3. Do not underestimate the training effort and learning curve
SolMan being a comprehensive tool, developed to address a large number of major and minor requirements in SAP projects, can become overwhelming to use, especially if the teams have never used it before. Therefore, our recommendation is to have mandatory training and support for the project members to make their user experience as smooth as possible. We have the following two recommendations for projects implementing SolMan Focused Build for the first time
- Create a test Wave to familiarize the team members with the tool
- Appoint SolMan experts in each team who have special training and can help out with day-to-day troubleshooting within the teams
4. Define roles and responsibilities of objects created in SolMan
From experience in large projects we have seen that many challenges in SolMan stem from not having clear ownership and responsibility assigned to team members for objects created in SolMan. E.g. The solution architect that creates and owns a work package should have the total responsibility for all elements within their work package. The same goes for objects like ‘requirements’, ‘projects’, ‘business processes‘ and many others.
Having a clear R&R from the start can save the project a lot of time and help keep the workflows accurate and streamlined.
5. Plan reporting requirements ahead
While SolMan comes with a sophisticated reporting suite, chances are that Focused Build does not have built-in reporting for all of your project requirements. Dedicated effort to identify those reporting requirements and expected visualization of reports for various stakeholders will go a long way in helping the management and teams understand the overall project status and make decisions based on data residing in SolMan. SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) is a powerful tool that can be leveraged to create custom reports from SolMan. Contact us for more details on the different options available to enhance the reporting Suite of Solution Manager.
Working with SolMan is a science and an art at the same time. We have honed our skills and mastered both along our journey with SolMan Focused Build.
Contact us for lessons learned or to take a look at your current setup, we are happy to share!