Go Agile For SAP: An Agile Methodology In 7 Steps Using CoreALM’s Free Scrum Board


Many of our customers run agile for their non-SAP applications but struggle to apply agile principles to their SAP projects. One of the major issues is that given the interconnected nature of the SAP application, it just takes longer than a typical 2-week sprint to configure and validate even a smaller SAP change when you consider all the possible downstream impacts – we usually run 4 or 5-week sprints for SAP projects. In our experience, for larger projects, you might still need a hybrid approach, but adopting some of the critical aspects of a purely agile methodology will improve the speed and quality of your results.

We developed our Agile Scrum Board to support the best practices of an agile methodology on SAP projects, leveraging the built-in capabilities of SAP Solution Manager Focused Build and SAP Cloud ALM. We’re excited to announce that customers can now take advantage of our Agile Scrum Board for Focused Build for free.

This guide navigates a 7-step agile methodology, highlighting the SAP agile methodology best practices for each step, and how CoreALM’s Free Scrum Board supports these agile principles.

Step 1: Agile Requirements Management

It is easy, in the fast-paced setting of an SAP project, to neglect capturing and managing requirements (also known as user stories, epics, features, and capabilities). Not only is this critical, but the project team must enforce a governance policy to manage the ongoing evolution of the requirements. It is obvious but important to note that the requirements dictate the scope of the project, and the scope drives the timeline and budget. Carefully managing the requirements will ensure that the project is best utilizing available resources to deliver only the necessary business benefits. The requirements also form the contract between the business stakeholders and the project team on what will be delivered at the end of each sprint.

SAP Agile Methodology Best Practices:

  • Requirements Governance: Requirements evolve over time as the project team gets into the details of the business process. Governing the approval of changes to the project requirements is a critical project discipline. This will ensure that the project team is prioritizing the most important business requirements for implementation.
  • Stakeholder Collaboration: Successful project teams create an environment that encourages an iterative dialogue among stakeholders. This creates a balance between business benefits and implementation efforts. Not only does this equip the project team with a clear understanding of the desired outcomes, but it is the initial step in the organizational change management process.

CoreALM Scrum Board Support for Best Practices:

  • Requirements Traceability: The CoreALM Scrum Board ensures traceability of requirements throughout the development lifecycle. When changes to requirements are approved, project teams can quickly assess the impact to their work items and timelines.
  • Work Item Prioritization: The backlog view of requirements allows business users to prioritize requirements and assign them to sprints keeping the project team focused on the right work items.

Step 2: Agile Business Process Design and Documentation

One of the major benefits of the agile methodology is ensuring that your business and technical stakeholder are involved throughout the design so you can be sure that their requirements will be addressed in the final solution design. The challenge is that with an integrated process, the review of those details takes a significant amount of time and the process usually gets bottlenecked based on the availability of a few key stakeholders. It is important to break the work down in a logical fashion so you can avoid over-utilizing those key resources. And it’s critical to have the real-time view on your progress through the approval process to ensure that you’re sticking to your sprint plan.

SAP Agile Methodology Best Practices:

  • Process Hierarchy: To manage complexity, it’s beneficial to structure business process design outputs at various levels of detail. Typically, this includes a 3 to 4 level business process hierarchy. For an SAP project, it’s best to break the work down according to the business process hierarchy. This makes it easier for planning and tracking the status of deliverables. It also simplifies the collaboration among stakeholders for the design documents.
  • Structured Approval Process: Given the dynamic nature of agile sprints, timely reviews and approvals of design documents are key. To avoid bottlenecks, integrate structured approval processes into your sprint planning ensuring there is sufficient time for iterative reviews. Maintain comprehensive tracking and review it daily to ensure you are on track to achieve your sprint goals.

CoreALM Scrum Board Support for Best Practices:

  • Real-time Status and Traceability of Approvals: The CoreALM Scrum Board allows you to monitor the status of the approvals for all design documents. This ensures transparency and clarity by providing a real-time view of where you are versus your target. This helps the project leadership team identify areas at risk where you are tracking behind so they can prioritize their time to removing blockers and accelerating decisions.
  • Track Dependencies and Resource Utilization: Agile teams must be adept at managing dependencies and resource allocation to maintain momentum. The Scrum Board empowers teams to view dependencies between process steps, highlighting potential resource constraints. By tracking how resources are being utilized, teams can make informed decisions about work distribution and priority adjustments.

Step 3: Sprint Planning and Backlog Prioritization

In order to achieve your objectives at the end of every sprint, project teams need to carefully plan every task, and they must calculate whether the assigned resources will have sufficient time to complete the tasks assigned. This is one area where an SAP agile project may differ from a purely agile methodology, as it is important for the project management team to plan their resource task assignments in advance, including setting target dates for each deliverable within the sprint. Since the number of sprints in an SAP project is fixed, it won’t be possible to stick to the overall project schedule if too many sprint deliverables are spilling over to the next sprint. Sprint plans must be detailed and realistic, taking into consideration all of the parallel activities that the scrum team needs to accomplish. During the planning for each sprint, the backlog needs to be reviewed to ensure that there is a plan to complete the full set of project requirements in the remaining sprints.

SAP Agile Methodology Best Practices:

  • Collaborative Sprint Planning: Engage scrum team members in the sprint planning process to account for all work items, ensuring that tasks are realistically forecasted and achievable within the sprint timeline.
  • Backlog Refinement: Regularly revisit and refine the sprint plan for all remaining sprints, allowing the project leadership to understand any risks to the overall project timeline so they can adjust priorities and resource allocations as needed.

CoreALM Scrum Board Support for Best Practices:

  • Detailed Sprint Planning: The Scrum Board features tools to capture resource assignments, estimate effort, identify dependencies, and report across the full project, providing a comprehensive view of the sprint plan.
  • Drag-and-Drop Prioritization: The Scrum Board offers a user-friendly interface for prioritizing work items, coupled with hierarchical traceability back to requirements and business processes, ensures alignment and focus on project goals.

Step 4: Managing SAP Customizations

Even though there is generally a desire to stick with standard out-of-the-box SAP processes, every project generally has requirements to build customizations. Those customizations or RICEFWs (Reports, Interfaces, Conversions, Enhancements, Forms, and Workflows) add complexity to the project as they often require collaboration with experts outside the SAP project team. To stay on track with your budget and timeline, it is critically important to build a sprint plan that lays out the work to be done in a logical sequence that respects the dependencies and constraints for those non-SAP resources.

SAP Agile Methodology Best Practices:

  • Track Dependencies and Resource Utilization: A well-organized system of tracking dependencies and resource utilization is key for managing RICEFW development and testing. Effective dependency management includes identifying and documenting effort and timelines for work items assigned outside the SAP project team for non-SAP systems.
  • Requirements and Process Traceability: It’s essential to make sure that testing for RICEFWs is incorporated into the overall end-to-end business process testing scenarios, not just within the SAP environment but extending outside its “four walls.” This ensures that customizations will integrate smoothly with external systems and processes during the integration testing phase.

CoreALM Scrum Board Support for Best Practices:

  • Sprint Planning and Tracking: The CoreALM Scrum Board offers robust tools for detailed sprint planning, allowing teams to track the progress of each customization, adjust plans based on real-time status, and manage resources effectively.
  • Specification Traceability: The Scrum Board facilitates the linking of custom specifications to their relevant requirements and business processes, ensuring that every customization adds value and ensuring teams are prioritizing items that resolve the most critical issues.

Step 5: End-to-End Testing and Defect Resolution

One of the common issues on SAP projects is to focus testing on customizations or isolated sections of the business process. In order to eliminate critical defects post go-live, project teams need to validate business processes from end-to-end, including testing steps executed in non-SAP applications supported by interfaces. To remain on track to your timeline and budget, project teams need clear visibility to the status of their testing, and the rate at which defects are being identified and resolved.

SAP Agile Methodology Best Practices:

  • End-to-End Test Scenarios: Design and implement test scenarios that cover complete business processes from start to finish. These scenarios should reflect real-world transactions and data flows, covering SAP and non-SAP systems.
  • Real-time Test Status Tracking: Make sure that your project management team has a reliable process to collect the test execution and defect status in real-time so you always have an up-to-date accurate view of your progress. This enables project teams to quickly allocate resources to solve bottlenecks or address critical defects.

CoreALM Scrum Board Support for Best Practices:

  • Requirements Traceability: The scrum board supports requirements traceability that aligns test cases to business requirements. This assists in prioritizing solutions or acceptable workarounds to identified testing defects or issues.
  • Real-time Reporting: CoreALM provides real-time reporting capabilities, giving a clear and immediate picture of testing progress and defect management, which aids in decision-making and keeps sprint timelines on track.

Step 6: User Acceptance Tests in an Agile Environment

Not only is user acceptance testing (UAT) a critical step in validating that the system is ready for Production, but it also serves as one of the main change management activities ensuring that business leaders know what they can expect from the delivered business processes. If business users have been collaborative in previous phases of the project, there shouldn’t be any surprises, but the user acceptance testing still needs to be managed carefully to ensure that business leaders accept the responsibility of the transition to the future state business process.

SAP Agile Methodology Best Practices:

  • Simulate ‘Day In The Life’ Scenarios: Craft test scenarios that closely emulate real-world use and business operations. This ensures a practical and relevant UAT experience.
  • Proactively Manage Stakeholder Approvals: Ensure that the process for collecting stakeholder approvals is clear, efficient, and integrated into each sprint. This avoids any delays that could be caused by waiting for feedback or sign-off.

CoreALM Scrum Board Support for Best Practices:

  • Requirements Traceability: CoreALM’s tool brings transparency and traceability to each user story and functional requirement. This can be used to ensure that the test scenarios have full coverage of the requirements.
  • Real-time Reporting: The Scrum Board provides real-time insights into UAT progress and outcomes, identifying blockers. The project leaders can use this data to facilitate swift action to address at risk areas.

Step 7: Transition to Run State

During a long SAP implementation project, it is often an afterthought that post go-live, the consultants will rolloff and the SAP experts must transition to ongoing operations and support. It is important to consider what changes will need to be made to the change management processes to provide ongoing support and continuous improvements for SAP. In some cases, SAP customers decide that they will need subsequent phases to implement secondary requirements that were not addressed during the project. In most situations, a transition to an ongoing agile improvement process for SAP changes is recommended.

SAP Agile Methodology Best Practices:

  • Run State Application Governance: Ensure a governance structure is in place that defines how the SAP application will be managed post go-live, including oversight of enhancement requests and defect management.
  • Continuous Improvement: Maintain and enhance the backlog of requirements and design deliverables during a continuous improvement cycle to accommodate new business needs or technological advancements.

CoreALM Scrum Board Support for Best Practices:

  • Backlog Prioritization: The Scrum Board is instrumental in prioritizing capabilities not delivered as part of the project so business users understand when their needs will be addressed.
  • Visibility to Project Assets: The CoreALM tool provides transparency and visibility to decisions, requirements traceability, and project deliverables that can be leveraged during and after the project to guide future enhancements.


Implementing Agile in SAP projects can seem daunting due to their scale and complexity, but by taking deliberate steps and employing robust tools like CoreALM’s Free Scrum Board, organizations can reap the benefits of agility. From managing customizations and thorough testing cycles to handling the transition to ongoing operations, each step in this agile methodology enhances the team’s ability to deliver high-value SAP solutions with speed and quality. Agile methodologies empower SAP projects to adapt quickly to changing business needs, reduce time-to-market, and ensure that value delivery aligns with business goals. Adopt these best practices and leverage a free Scrum Board to transform your SAP project management approach for your SAP implementation roadmap, and beyond.

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