Agile SAP

Can the Agile methodology actually work in SAP?

Can the Agile methodology actually work in SAP?
It’s an age-old debate in the technology space, Agile vs Waterfall. We’ve all heard the arguments as to why each approach does or doesn’t work, particularly when it comes to the SAP sector, but is it time to embrace a more Agile approach in a bid to improve project success.
As someone who has been recruiting SAP and Agile professionals across the UK for more than 15 years and can see the value of both methodologies, I’ve noticed it’s a subject that continues to come up in my discussions across the SAP market.
I look around at my clients and very rarely does a project get delivered, on time, let alone on budget. In fact, did you know latest statistics show that projects above £10 million are successful only 10 per cent of the time, 52 per cent are challenged and 38 per cent fail!
Is Waterfall failing us? Are we ready to start accepting inevitable change or are we trying to ignore it?

SAP has traditionally run projects on Waterfall methodologies as we know, generally hybrid versions of Prince2 and there are strong historical reasons for this. During the time of R/3 in the early 90s, Waterfall-based software engineering frameworks were mostly taught to software professionals and subsequently adopted as ‘best practice’. This soon became the dominant way to implement configuration-driven package software.
This position was further entrenched by the release of SAP’s standardised approach ASAP (Accelerated SAP) in the late ’90s, which was adopted as the standard reference framework for SAP.

This started to change slowly after Agile became popularised in 2001 with the manifesto for Agile Software Development , created by frustrated software professionals.

Agile methods, until recently, were seen to be more applicable to bespoke software product development than ERP implementations.Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is business process management software that allows an organization to use a system of integrated applications to manage the business and automate many back office functions related to technology, services and human resources.

However, in the past 15 years or so, a small group of software development professionals found themselves in SAP projects and successfully implemented aspects of Agile techniques such as Xtreme Programming (XP) and Scrum in their SAP projects mostly ‘under the radar’ or hidden within a Waterfall framework, and it worked.

More positive openness towards Agile methods emerged when SAP AG itself started adopting Agile development around 2010, releasing Agile extensions to ASAP 8 as an integral part of SAP Solution Manager.

The feeling across a number of clients we have spoken to said that “There is definitely an element of concern that Agile adoption (at team and business levels) would be costly and take too much time,

“There is still a perception that Agile methods (jokingly referred to as ‘Agile Fragile’) is undisciplined, unplanned and inherently ungovernable because no one delivers any documentation and/or reports.

“This is far from the truth because in reality, Agile demands a lot of discipline, communication and collaboration from both the project management, business and the project team and in addition emphasises strong focus on quality and technical excellence.”

These statements led me to wonder, do we need to educate C-Suite stakeholders? Do companies and PMO managers need to start planning for a change into Agile?

Let’s look at the release of SAP HANA products. The ASAP Methodology in 2015 was transcended and replaced by the new SAP Activate methodology that now has Agile development at its core.

Is Agile SAP here to stay? And if so, as it seems to be, are many businesses putting their proverbial head in the sand?

Implementing and understanding Agile, just like anything else, is not a guilt-free salvation to your problems. Projects are by definition, disruptive, temporary and noisy. Organisations need to realise and acknowledge that whatever transition method they choose there will be disruption.
Agile transformation requires a serious mind-set change and strong focus and commitment. You need to adapt, adopt, use the right tool for the right job,
It seems to me, that as a sector, we need to look at the case job-by-job, rather than bringing forward the thinking ‘it’s the way we’ve done it before, and it’s the way we’ll do it again’.

Would you agree? I am open to hear your thoughts.

Shane Sale
is a specialist Principal consultant who also manages, the ‘Agile UK Networking group’, and the ‘SAP UK Networking Group’ Why not drop him a line at either 01189520156 or [email protected]

We launch the first ‘Technology Chiefs Meetup’ in Munich!

The Technology Chiefs Meetup was a great success!

On Thursday we welcomed a group of CTOs, CIOs and technology leaders to the Austin Fraser offices in Munich for the first ever The Technology Chiefs Meetup. It was a great turn out with representatives from a diverse range of companies and industries. This diversity contributed to some interesting discussions and great networking opportunities.

Oliver Feige, CTO at AG, delivered an engaging and informative presentation on modernising IT-Architecture. This is such an important topic for any technology leader and feedback from the group was that it was really valuable for their daily business. Oliver did a great job of giving some practical advice and tips that can easily be implemented and make a positive impact. We would like to thank Oliver once more for taking the time to travel to Munich and share his experiences with the group.

Feeling inspired? If you have a topic you are passionate about and would like to share with a future Meetup please get in touch!

As true specialists, Austin Fraser is proud to be actively involved in the tech community. We work hard to ensure that we remain ahead of the curve and are always up to date on the latest industry trends. Our series of Meetup events is a chance to share this knowledge with our network and offer them a neutral space to discuss and interact with their peers.

We host a number of Meetups globally, including the UK, Munich and Austin, Texas. This is just the start for us and we are planning to launch community groups and events in other technology areas soon, watch this space…
You can view more photos of the recent The Technology Chiefs Meetup and sign up for the next event here:

Technology Chiefs : A new Meetup for Technology Leaders in Munich!

We’re very excited to announce our new, exclusive Meetup group for CTOs, CIOs and technology leaders, The Technology Chiefs! This is an opportunity to bring together like-minded individuals from established and innovative businesses in the Munich area, giving them the space to connect and discuss best practises and coming advances in technology .
The first event will take place on Thursday 12th May at the Austin Fraser office in Munich. Mr Oliver Feige, CTO at AG, will give a interesting keynote presentation on Modernising IT Architektur. Oliver Feige has over 20 years’ experience in the IT industry, having worked for as a technology leader in companies such as Travian Games and FriendScout24. We are delighted to have Oliver join us on Thursday and are sure he will help make our first Technology Chiefs Meetup a success!
Limited places are still available:

Austin Fraser Expand Their Agile Offering

Welcome to the team James Jordan!
With Austin Fraser’s continued growth into Agile technologies, we have hired James Jordan to help lead the Agile proposition for us working in the Permanent team. James will be working closely with Shane Sale to lead this pioneering change.
The roles James and Shane will focus on will include:
– Agile Project Managers
– Project Owners
– Agile Coaches
– Agile Business Analysts
– Scrum Masters
Agile will contribute towards more cohesion between our current recruitment markets, whilst allowing us to harness new skills and extend our offering to our clients. It allows us to work with businesses to focus on the bigger picture and successfully help them to progress and expand.
James has been in recruitment for 10 years, working predominantly working in the .Net market, as a proven leader he worked himself up to management level with 20+ recruiters reporting into him.
We are excited to have James on board, with his proven track record and with a collaborative working partnership with Shane, we are very excited about the growth of the Agile division.

Top 3 TED Talks On Successful Leadership

Here’s Our Top 3 TED Talks On Successful Leadership
We’ve chosen three of our favourite TED Talks by industry experts – Richard Branson, Sheryl Sandberg and Simon Sinek. Their undeniable leadership skills have helped them establish their careers and gain worldwide recognition for their successes. These three business leaders have also coached others to emulate their success. Each one of them defines crucial aspects of leadership, that will give you a well rounded picture of what you can do as a leader.
Richard Branson:
Branson’s TED Talk will give you a real insight into what it takes to become a pioneer in business. He really knuckles down into what he sees as the the most important values to have. He shares lessons he has learnt throughout his career through amusing anecdotes ranging from jumping out of a hot air balloon into the sea, to his brief stints in prison.
“All you have in life is your reputation – and it’s a very small world. I don’t think putting people down in order to succeed actually works…As a business leader it’s best to treat people well and fairly.”

Sheryl Sandberg:
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, recognises the progress for gender equality over recent years, but highlights that women are significantly underrepresented in the C-Suite across the vast majority of industries. She emphasises the importance of recognising this and also explores three very interesting and relatable factors that can contribute to the reasons why this may be.
Sheryl emphasises the fact there are normally common denominators that frequently restrict the progression of women. As a leader you need to be aware of these factors and make sure you are making a conscious effort to combat them.

Simon Sinek:
Simon Sinek is renowned for his concept ‘start with why.’ We all know it’s easy to get caught up in our work, but Simon encourages us to take a step back and focus on the reason why we are doing something and make sure this is at the heart of every action you take. This is a seemingly simple concept but it is one that can create incredible success and help take a good leader and make him into an incredible one.
Simon will give you an insight into how you can harness passion to massively transform the outcome of your actions. He uses well known examples of Apple, The Wright Brothers and Martin Luther King to reinforce how this concept has worked in the past and can work for anyone.


3 simple steps to becoming an inspirational leader!

3 easy steps to becoming an inspirational leader
There’s no denying it, becoming a great leader isn’t easy. Get it right and you’ll make a lasting impression on somebody for the rest of their life; get it wrong, and you could have a significant impact on not only your team’s progression, but your own too. We all remember David Brent from ‘The Office’, right? As entertaining as he is, he’s memorable for all the wrong reasons. Don’t let that be you.
At Austin Fraser, learning and development is at the heart of everything we do. We regularly run a tailored leadership course internally, so based on these learns, we’ve come up with three simple steps for you to become an inspirational leader.
What got you here, won’t get you there.
Egotism is defined as, ‘an exaggerated sense of self-importance’ and it’s a dangerous trait that a lot of successful people need to be wary of. Proven individual success often plays a huge part in earning a management position. However, being technically great in a role doesn’t always make for a great leader (Just like the best footballers don’t always make the best managers!).
Make sure you pass the baton and give others the chance to succeed. For example, try taking a step back and guiding them rather than making a point of telling your team what to do. This way they’ll feel confident in themselves when they get it right, or they’ll learn from their mistakes if they don’t. All you need is a bit of patience whilst they find their feet. Working together to understand where you can improve, along with supporting your team throughout is what will make you an inspirational leader.
Giving credit where credit’s due is a fundamental part of our company culture. In ‘What got us here, won’t get us there’, Marshall Goldsmith argues that one of the most common frustrations reported by team members is not receiving the recognition they deserve. Remember, hard work should never go unnoticed. Showing you take pride in your team’s successes and stand by them come rain or shine will inspire your team and make them feel valued.
Listen, listen and listen some more.
American entrepreneur and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn said, “One of the greatest gifts you can give to anyone is the gift of attention”. Make sure you schedule regular contact with each of your team members; at least half an hour each week will give you both an opportunity to communicate candidly and ensure you’re all on the same wavelength. To make sure you don’t unnecessarily waste time, try to set an agenda before your meeting to maintain structure and productivity.
Listening skills are one of the most important characteristics of an inspirational leader. Absorbing other people’s points of view and recognising the value in what they’re saying will be invaluable for team morale. People will always work that little bit harder if they feel they’re genuinely making an impact or contributing to projects.
When communicating with your team, avoid starting sentences with ‘no’, ‘but’, ‘however’ or ‘let me tell you why that won’t work…’. These phrases are dismissive and suggests you’re uninterested in what they have to say. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything that is said, but instead of criticising, try to be constructive.
Never stop learning.
Investing in your people is crucial for staff retention. Richard Branson says, “Train people well enough so they can leave, but treat them well enough so they don’t want to”. He lives by this approach with all of his businesses, investing heavily in his team’s development. Your team’s development is a direct reflection on you. Investing time and patience into the training they need and will pay dividends in the long run.
Whilst it’s important to recognise the need for your team’s training, don’t neglect your own personal development. Nobody’s perfect. It can sometimes take a lot of courage to admit you need support, but don’t be afraid to take the plunge. Set a good example and strive to continuously push yourself to be better. Whether through in-house training or through the support of a mentor, there is a wealth of opportunity for improvement around you. Make the most of it.

LinkedIn job search

How to harness the power of LinkedIn for your job search

The digital age has revolutionised the way we look for jobs. The rise of tools like email, digital CVs, job boards and social media means that candidates have access to more job vacancies than ever before. With so many methods available, the challenge for candidates is working out which platform is right for them and how they should go about presenting themselves in the best light. 
LinkedIn is one particular platform that has changed the way we look at recruitment. As the professional social networking site of choice for most, we thought it was the perfect starting point for advice on your career development journey.
Initially launched in 2003, LinkedIn quickly gained momentum and is now the third most visited social networking site, only falling behind Facebook and Twitter.  It’s a goldmine of opportunity if used correctly and  with over 400 million users worldwide and two users joining every second, harnessing LinkedIn effectively should be the key to making sure you seize every opportunity available to you.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
Personalise your account with a high quality profile picture and cover photo. Great images will always help draw people to your profile and demonstrate that you’re a serious professional. If you’re a creative, make sure it comes clearly in the media you upload. Perhaps upload a portfolio or examples of previous work. Remember, keep it visual. Your profile is your shop window for potential employers, it’s important to get your personality across.
Whatever you do, always choose appropriate photos. LinkedIn is a professional social network, so selfies with your friends or those pouting photos in front of the mirror shouldn’t make the cut. Instead, keep it simple and professional. Make sure people are drawn to your profile for the right reasons! Take a look at these profile photo tips from  
Never underestimate the power of a first impression.
First impressions are essential. Once you’ve tackled the imagery on your profile, you need to think about the content. Make sure your profile is complete before you begin connecting with important industry professionals. After all, you only get one chance to make a first impression.
Make sure you do your research. Looking at a range of job descriptions for your ideal role will highlight commonly sought after skills and experience that employers are looking for. Once you’ve done this, you can tailor your profile specifically.
Fill out each section, keeping it short but sweet. Bullet point your key skills and expertise to make sure anybody who views your profile can find this information quickly. Recommendations and endorsements are an excellent way to build your reputation quickly too – Don’t be afraid to ask!
Get creative.
Your LinkedIn profile can be so much more than just a CV. It’s important to maximise the additional capabilities of your profile. Do you have a portfolio of previous work? Attach it! What about a website or blog? Link to it! Perhaps you comment through your own YouTube channel…Include it!
The goal is to make yourself known to the people that count and to stand out whilst doing it. This is your time to shine, invest the time now in creating the content and it’ll pay dividends in the long run.
Use your initiative.
Now you’ve created your profile, it’s time to look for some opportunities. A great general rule of thumb is, ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get’. If there’s not a job publicly advertised then why don’t you search for employees in the company you’d like to join. Connect with them.
Once they’ve accepted your connect (which of course they will, your profile is now awesome), message them directly enquiring about upcoming opportunities that may be in the pipeline. It’s OK if there aren’t any available immediately, they could still offer valuable insight or tips as to how you could get your foot in the door in future.
LinkedIn is all about building relationships. You never know what’s around the corner or when these connections could come in handy. Either way, people admire the use of initiative, so don’t be afraid of being bold. Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you, create your own.
Influence and engage.
Once you’ve gained the attention of your connections, maintain it. Like, share and create engaging and well-informed content that is relevant to your industry. Videos and images are great for drawing an idol scrollers’ attention to your profile which, after all, is the objective.
Join relevant groups too. This is a great way of interacting with wider industry debates and topics, allowing you to demonstrate your market knowledge.
Above all, always remember to remain professional and respectful. Save political rants and emotional statuses for your other social media, or better still, keep them to yourself or your significant other.
LinkedIn is an excellent tool for developing your career if you use it correctly. Follow these little snippets of advice and put yourself in the best position for the next step in your career.  

Austin Fraser heads to Web Summit!

1,000 speakers. 1,000 investors. 2,142 start ups. 42,000 attendees…
One Web Summit.
Since Dublin first played host to the Web Summit conference, popularity has skyrocketed. With a focus on Internet technologies, the attendees were a mixture of CEOs and founders of tech startups and Fortune 500 companies, along with a range of people from the global technology and related industries.
We sent Mitchell Bailey and Daniel Betts to this year’s Web Summit in order to get an understanding of where the industry is going and how it might impact our business, both directly and for our clients in years to come.
The world is changing fast and technology is the driving force. From virtual and augmented reality to artificial intelligence, wearable technology and robotics, one thing was clear — the technology space is going to be a very different place in just a few short years.
As a specialist recruiter within the technology space, it’s vital that we understand where the industry might go to provide the most consultative service to our clients and candidates. Over the next week or two, we’ll be posting a series of updates reflecting on our time in the heart of Dublin and expanding on the trends we identified.
Daniel Betts said, “It was an absolute pleasure to be in the presence of so many inspiring people. Many of the founders and CEOs got to where they are because they believed in changing the world for the better. People are at the heart of an organisation and without the right staff, these companies wouldn’t be able to change the world. The buck starts with us as recruiters if we truly want to change the world.”