A huge thank you to Andrew Schmidt, Program Manager, Network PMO at Xcel Energy and Cindy Hoffman, Sr. Manager, Enterprise Data Governance at Xcel Energy for sharing their experience and takeaways on the topic: Seeing Beyond Scope: How to Ensure Success for Non-IT Stakeholders, Learning from Xcel’s SAP Implementation. Also, thank you to Xcel Energy for hosting. 

As your aware, there are many phases to SAP Implementation that it seems never-ending. Quite possibly, the job is never actually completed. So, with something so large, where do you start? Andrew and Cindy shared that it’s always prevalent to start with why. Why does an SAP implementation matter, and who does it matter to the most?

Finding someone with a business background reckoned as a success for Xcel. They decided to bring together Andrew and Cindy to lead their team through this implementation. They raised high accountability standards for the business team to then work with the project team, which proved to be successful. 

Xcel Energy used a go-live readiness wheel that also helped them along the way. It was a form of accountability that everyone on the team was familiar with. If a date needed to change, it had to be approved by the team leaders, otherwise, in the long run, something would be off.  

The lessons that Xcel took away from this process was a continuous flow of new knowledge to not only improve but to provide less room for error when it would be time to go live. One of the biggest things they learned was to encourage their team to ask for help, or to flag something when it didn’t seem right. It was easier to approve a date change rather than brush past something that may seem small but will cause a headache towards the end.  

They also utilized practice runs. You may want to turn away at the thought of practice runs considering the upfront cost that may align. However, they found it immensely beneficial as it creates a better outcome. Those that are working on your team have a better idea of the questions that may arise. Throughout all of this, they would also host lessons learned sessions which provided feedback for the entire team. This proved to be helpful as it was an opportunity to create an action plan.

A huge thank you to Xcel Energy for sharing their process and findings with the group. We can all get lost in the crazy work of SAP Implementation. We hope you were able to walk away with a few new nuggets of information that will help whatever stage you may be in. If you are interested in learning more about what was discussed, please take a look at the slide deck, here.