Nov 03

SAP Project Management Consulting Clichés – Part 2

Following my previous post I got a couple of responses from folks out on the interweb and decided I’d steal their suggestions and expand on their consulting clichés.  After all repetition and overuse are the start point for any cliché and this means I’m doing my part to sustain the cycle – reuse, recycle, renew!

Is Your Project a Hotbed of SAP Consulting Clichés?

I felt compelled to come up with a 2-by-2 matrix to help you decide whether your project is cliché generator or a cliché consumer.

Here’s a chart to gauge your progress

This is your guide to see if your project vernacular has made it to cliché status or is too localized for such weighty titles.  The matrix should be self-explanatory, and if it isn’t, then it isn’t much of matrix.  But let’s cover the bases and check we’re all working off the same playbook:

  • If the phrase is only used by a few people on your project you’ve got yourself a clique but you haven’t got a cliché
  • If the phrase is in widespread use across your organization but strangers check for their keys and wallets when you say it in public you’ve got tribal knowledge and a clear boundary between understanding and bafflement
  • If the phrase is used in lots of projects but only by a select group – perhaps those geeky developers who speak something that sounds like a cross between Fortran and Klingon – you’ve got the beginnings of a cult going on (I appreciate you geeks, but I’m not sure my mother wants to meet all of you)
  • If you hear the phrase everywhere and everyone knows what it means you have achieved nirvana: cliché status is yours to behold!  Jolly well done, splendid, attaboy!

What Does That Mean?

Here is a handful clichés submitted to me recently along with a short explanation of what I think they really mean.  If these aren’t familiar please do you best to over use them so that they do become clichés.

9 women can’t make a baby in a month

Translation: You have critical path issue on your project.  Assigning additional resources to the task isn’t going to help.  Better resources, perhaps.

This is an aggressive timeline

Translation: Get ready to develop a new plan.  An aggressive timeline usually assumes perfect execution, code is good, configuration is good, users are trained, security and authorizations are good, interfaces are good, master data conversion is good, transactional conversion is good, backup and restore is good, and everything works together flawlessly, without a hitch.  Or at least it will once we get through this exercise with no, well maybe minimal errors and rework.

This doesn’t work the way the old system does

Translation: I agree, it doesn’t work the same way as the old system.  It’s SAP and it works differently.  If it was supposed to work the same way as the old system it wouldn’t be SAP.  Now tell me again, why did your company choose to implement SAP?

That’s not what I wanted

Translation: But it is what you asked for.  In defense of the speaker I think it is very difficult to describe what you want in a clear and complete manner and very few people are good at distinguishing between what they want and how they think it should be delivered and operate.  Nonetheless on ERP projects there is always a tendency to want to make that Buick into a Bentley despite the fact that both vehicles can get you to your destination.

This is working as designed

Translation: The design is broken.  A fork is a good implement for eating some foods, but not all foods.  Is a spork the result you were looking for?

Let me get back to you on that

Translation: a) I have no clue, b) let me look on, c) I don’t understand what you’re asking, d) that makes no sense to me, e) why would you want to do that?  But seriously, this is consultant speak for I have no idea how to answer that question.  The good consultants figure it out and get back to you whereas the bad ones just hope you are too buried to remember to ask that question again.  You know pretty quickly whether you have good or bad consultants.

The End of a Humorous Interlude

I hope I managed to bring a smile to your day as you read this and the previous post – perhaps your assistant printed it so you can read it on the plane as you fly home from another week of project execution optimization driven by paradigms harnessed by unconventional quantum leaps into new challenges that seek to maximize ROI.  That won’t be a cliché any time soon, but the individual components are probably already active on a project near you.

Thanks for indulging me.


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