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Agile development a perfect fit for BW/4HANA migration

“Agile software development (ASD) advocates adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continual improvement, and it encourages rapid and flexible response to change.” (ASD Wikipedia)

The migration from BW to BW/4HANA is a complex task (whatever migration option is chosen) and certainly can’t be done as a “big bang” strategy.

Once you’ve executed the BW/4HANA pre-checker report on your system you can see the substantial effort required to convert object types to HANA compatible object types, ABAP code review and modification, manual BW design and build modifications (objects where no conversion tool is available) etc.

The following are the main features of Agile project management:

  • Iterative development cycles

  • Self-organizing teams

  • Multi-level planning

  • Dynamic scope

  • Frequent collaboration with customer and/or business sponsors

The practical approach to a BW/4HANA migration would be

  • Split the migration tasks into iterative development cycles

  • Have a dedicated BW/4HANA migration team

  • Have a high-level and detailed plan of each of the migration elements.

  • Item can be prioritised based on feedback from the business.

As you can see from the above features of agile project management sit perfectly for a BW/4HANA migration.

A substantial piece of the BW/4HANA migration is converting the classical BW objects to BW/4HANA compatible objects. For an in-place migration, once you convert an object in the development system, this can’t be changed until the object is converted through the landscape (including production). Only then can development can resume on this object.

So, for remote and shell migrations, it’s not mandatory (but recommended) to split the migration into iterative development cycles.

For In-Place it is essential to do this as if this is not done then you’re basically locking the landscape from future enhancements until all objects have been migrated from the development system all the way through to the production system which could be anywhere from a 3 to 6-month project (depending on the size of your BW system).

Two of the main principles underling the Agile Manifesto are:

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

  2. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.

The splitting of BW dataflows into manageable sizes of work fit’s perfectly to these principles. For example, having an iteration/sprint for the conversion of 3 to 5 BW dataflows that potentially could be completed in a few weeks allows for delivery of work on time along with a satisfied customer!

To conclude, once you’ve decided to migrate your BW system to BW/4HANA system – a review of the Agile Software Development methodology should be undertaken to see if it’s a right fit for your BW/4HANA migration.
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