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SAP BPC & EPM
Thought Leadership

EPM Project Management Methodologies Untangled

Posted by
Connie Folk
Connie Folk
on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 @ 08:04 AM

Do you ever wonder if you are keeping up with the plethora of project management methodologies? Waterfall, Scrum, Agile, Lean, ASAP,  Agile Waterfall and Sprints form just a handful of concepts. What is a project management methodology anyway and how do you choose the most appropriate one for your Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Business Planning & Consolidation (BPC) or Business Intelligence (BI) SAP project?

A project management methodology dictates how the work for any given project will be organized and carried out for the life of the project.  The given methodology uses specific processes and procedures for the project.pmo methodology

And where does the Systems Development Life cycle (SDLC) process fit into these project methodologies?  The SDLC is a process used to develop information systems with an aim to produce a high quality system meeting or exceeding customer expectations, within budget, on time, is inexpensive to maintain and integrates efficiently with current and planned information technology infrastructure. 

Quick Project Management Methodology Overview

The Waterfall methodology utilizes a sequential process migrating through defined phases of a project, each with its own goals.  The project will not progress from one stage to the next until the goals of the prior phase have been meet.  Typical project phases are Initiation, Requirement, Analysis / Design, Development, Testing, Implementation, and Maintenance.

Agile software development bases itself on an iterative and incremental approach. Software developers work on small modules, and respond to users' changed requirements rather than follow a specific or predetermined plan of action. The basic design is simple, and changes are made as work progresses.

The Iterative Waterfall approach carries less risk than a traditional Waterfall approach but is still far more risky and less efficient than a more Agile approach.  The focus is on delivering a small “sprint” of work at a time versus a full featured release.

Scrum Development focuses on delivering fully-tested, independent, small featured releases.  This approach allows frequent releases to the business community demonstrating value.  Scrum carries far less risk than Waterfall approaches.

Lean Development is very similar to Scrum as this approach focuses on a small set of features versus a full blown release.  However, with lean development, more time is spent planning, testing and deploying one feature prior to the next.  Therefore, with Lean Development, risk is typically isolated to the feature level.

ASAP is the Accelerated SAP Methodology intended to help design and implement SAP implementations in the most efficient manner possible.  Column5 Projects follow the standards of the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) guidelines utilizing SAP’s ASAP methodology best practices and adapt for any unique constraints of the given product and project.

To make the right choice in approach, know the project phases, methodology constraints and unique organizational conditions. Key considerations for choosing the most appropriate project management methodology include:

  1. Does the project have a fulltime dedicated project team?
  2. Do documented requirements exist; are they detailed and clear?
  3. Are there many open questions on the requirements?
  4. Does the project have a project sponsor who can make process decisions?
  5. What does the project team or sponsor place a higher value on:  the right solution, the timeline or a fixed budget?
  6. Is the organization a large matrix environment?
  7. Is the project owned by Information Technology (IT) Team or the Business Team?
  8. What is the tolerance for change within the organization?

Column5 believes strongly in the appropriate methodology being applied to a given project and will leverage our knowledge of multiple methodologies to create the best fit for a given project.  In some cases an Iterative/Agile approach can reap many benefits if the risk and benefits are in balance.  In other cases, the more methodical checks and balances of a Waterfall methodology are better suited for the processes and team working dynamics.  As mentioned in my previous blog, a methodical and proactive approach is essential to delivering your project successfully and this includes selecting the methodology that will apply just the proper amount of rigor while delivering on the project’s stated objectives and success criteria.


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Topics: Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Business Intelligence (BI), Project Management, Value, Implementation, BPC (Business Planning & Consolidation)

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