Change Management In Global Project Management

A new SAP system can make a start-up plant a disaster or victory—all depending on the preparation for its implementation. The SAP is the information backbone of new plant business and project manager should approach it with a well structured project team. If implementation scope includes Financials, Sales, Distribution logistics, Manufacturing, Supply Chain Management and Business Warehouse functionalities for multiple production lines at new plant and the majority of the users are new hires or new to the SAP, then including a Change Management team into integration team is the starting point that ensures the implementation success.

What is Change Management?
Change Management (CM) is an organized, systematic application of the knowledge, tools and resources. CM is responsible for developing and managing the execution of strategies and activities to support successful implementation of the project. Change Management strategies include gaining leadership support, ensuring that the business aligns organization, processes and systems, involving key constituents for understanding and acceptance; preparing, equipping and training the workforce to operate in their new roles; and aligning the workforce to support the initiative. As we can see, CM is a key for the SAP implementation, because the implementation will simplify and standardize business processes, will affect people, will change the way people conduct business and the way they get work done.

How Change Management Team Structured?
A typical Change Management team includes Site Coordinator, CM manager, CM Partner, Communication Specialist, Training Coordinator, Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Specialist, Security Primary Person of Responsible (PPR), and a couple of trainers.  See the illustration below.

What are the Roles and Responsibilities of a CM team?
CM Manager is a full time role in global SAP implementation and should be on site. The role is responsible for leading CM team, communicating with Project Manager, Site Coordinator/CM partner about communication, training, KPI tracking and Security issues.

Site Coordinator can be a part-time role and should be on site. This role is a “go-to” person regarding site issues for core team*, extended team**, business leadership team and site management team. The role is responsible for communicating to all appropriate parties on overall project status, issues, successes, and barriers to keep the members engaged in the project.

CM Partner is from site and can be a part-time role. This role is responsible for supporting the CM Lead to execute the CM and training activities on site in local language. S/he is go-to person for extended team.
Training Coordinator is a part-time role from site. This role is accountable to site management for effective SAP training, which includes business processes and SAP basics, implementation in order for the overall SAP roll-out to be successful.

Trainers are usually the existing local Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). They will be most effective if they are very familiar with the existing business processes and also have a deep understanding of SAP. They are Extended Team members from the beginning of the project and will become the workgroup Super Users after go-live.

Security PPR is a shared resource and is responsible for giving SAP users adequate access to carry out the functions needed to do their job in SAP and make sure that “Sensitive” transaction codes (T-CODES) are comply with SOX control process

What are the Key Change Management Tasks?
As I mentioned earlier, CM is responsible for developing and managing the execution of strategies and activities to prepare the users to successfully utilize SAP in support of the business. To be specific, the following CM tasks need to carry out to support successful implementation of the project.

Organizational Impact Assessment
The goal of the Org Impact Assessment is to indentify personnel for critical job roles and ensure that the right workforce is adequately trained in business processes & SAP. The inputs are work streams/tracks (e.g. OTC), business processes (e.g. maintain pricing data), job functions (e.g. sales support), job roles and responsibilities (e.g. Create and change customer and/or material specific prices), name, training courses that this person needs to participate, etc. The output of the assessment is an assessment matrix.  The matrix will link to staffing plan if applicable and later the training approach.

Communication Plan
The goal of the detailed communication plan is to let all employees know what is happening in the workplace. A detailed communication plan includes communication levels (E.g. Steering Committee), audience, purpose, events and messages, content developer, sender/approver, frequency, etc. It can help to gauge the effectiveness of efforts to communicate information throughout the organization and can ensure the messages about the importance of changes are getting through.

User Acceptance Event
After completion of internal team testing, one month prior to system go-live, the Core Team and Extended Team will work together to define test scenarios that are representative of key business processes. Extended Team members & selected Super Users on will participate in site. As you imagine, how CM team organize the event is critical for core team to conduct UAE successfully, especially when the UAE has to be virtually due to the time or/and budget constraints. CM manager and integration lead should work very closely to come up with a very detailed UAE Schedule which includes names/IDs of the integrated scenarios, time needed, scheduled dates, short and long descriptions, person who conduct scenario/s, etc. The plan needs to be communicated to participants 2-3 weeks in advance and all issues will be recorded & prioritized by CM team. Issues rated as “High” or “Very High” impact will be resolved before go-live.

End-user Training
The goal of training is to ensure user community is fully trained to operate (and understand) the SAP system for their specific job junction. The SAP training starts 3-4 weeks prior to system go-live.  The Change Management team performs training assessment, comes up with detailed training plan and monitors the quality of the training. If SAP rollout is in an region that English is not users’ mother toque, the CM team will work with local needs to provide training in the appropriate language.
End-user training includes business process training to ensure that the end-users are educated on the critical business rules associated with the SAP transactions they will need to perform, and SAP basic training and SAP Delta training to ensure that the end-users are educated how to navigate through the critical transactions for their job roles and responsibilities, how to analyze data and reports generated from SAP and in problem-solving within SAP.

Business process training normally is provided by super user/s from business team; SAP basic and Delta training normally is provided by members from Core Team.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Tracking
KPI is a metric that assess the effectiveness of a process. The metric will be determined during final preparation in order to track that is the system working as designed, are the people using the system correctly or bypassing the system. KPI specialist from the CM team leads this activity. Each work stream has a set of KPIs that they have to monitor on an on-going basis. Examples of KPIs are financial (budget, variances), schedule, number of late deliveries, etc.

Lessons Learned
The goal of capturing lessons learned is to identify what went well and some of the major successes, to identify the challenges and future recommendations to prevent the challenge from happening in future projects or stages, and to identify the actions required based on information documented from team. During go-live, CM manager sends out the lessons learned template to track/team leads to solicit answers. Project manager will share the lessons learned at the project closeout meeting.

These are a very important set of CM activities that typically need to be done for a global SAP rollout. These activities need to be proactively managed, rather than reactively. If these activities are not done, the global project team will encounter many issues during the implementation, and will face high risk of failure.

Experience suggests that it is vital to form an effective Change Management team that is supported fully by the local GM and other directors. A local Leadership Buy-in event needs to be carried out 3-6 months prior to the project kick-off. A well defined roles and responsibilities need to be clearly communicated to site management team so the CM resources from site can be allocated and committed to project.

Core Team: consists of project team members from IT Application team who are generally full time. Daily activities include system configuration and business process documentation.

** Extended Team: are subject matter experts (SMEs), they provide functional expertise for system design and implementation.
About the Author:

Qiuyan (Joanna) Wang is the PMO Lead for Asia Pacific at a Premier International Chemical Company. For more than 10 years she has worked with project management in the United States and abroad. She has extensive SAP Global ERP implementation experience and Project Management Office implementation experience.

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