FeuerwehrwagenThe client, a European manufacturer with 1.8bn Euro turnover in 2011 and some 9,000 employees in over 40 countries worldwide, had a program to roll-out E-Shops for four of its subsidiaries.  This program had effectively stalled due to a lack of effective project management.

The brief was to manage the implementation of an SAP E-Shop in one country within 8 weeks and to identify which issues were preventing another country from using their E-Shop.

The top priority was to quickly establish simple and effective mechanisms for bringing the project under control, in particular, to contain the project scope.  The first significant action was to triage open issues into three groups:

  • Bugs which needed to be fixed and enhancements that had been made for other countries which could be implemented with no or minimal development work;
  • Small developments which were important for the country and which could be delivered with low effort and without jeopardizing the project time-line; and
  • Issues which represented significant new functionality and implied substantial analysis, design and development effort, work on which would be delayed for later assessment and inclusion in a later release.

A short development phase followed, culminating in user acceptance testing and regression testing with the other countries using the E-shop.  The new E-Shop went live on time and within 2 months 40% of the subsidiary's orders were being taken through it.  The regression testing was used to demonstrate that all significant issues which prevented the second country from using their E-Shop had already been fixed.

The combination of a clearly stated project mandate, unbureaucratic  project control tools, a focussed team, stringent scope management (together with a mechanism for parking open issues that could not be dealt with within the project time-scales), a well-communicated project plan and appropriate issue-management procedures were key to ensuring a successful outcome.

At the end of the project the Project Sponsor asked "Why didn't we have such a team from the very beginning? If it had been organised like this earlier we would not have waited 1½ years."