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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

SAP Development: Recommendations

These are some recommendations I make to new SAP programmers.

  1. Read the online help for the related modules, or any other related material (not necessarily technical) to understand the broader perspective or what you are trying to do in the system, and what the system already has, and how the processes work. Try to convince all the heads of departments and top management to read the material as well. This will greatly increase the efficiency of the implementation. When the people with authority understand exactly what the system can and cannot do, and have already decided what they want to get out of the system, they are in a position to monitor and direct their part of the implementation. When this is not the case, and top management is less involved, the IT department may start to make implementation decisions that only top management should be making, and it becomes unclear who is responsible for the consequences of these decisions.
  2. Comment program code extensively.
  3. Whenever possible, combine summary and detail reports into a single single report with drill-down. This makes things much easier for the lead programmer, project manager, and end-user to verify correctness.
  4. Remember to write authority-checks into each program where appropriate.
  5. Before agreeing to user requirement specifications, consider whether the proposed report or program is feasible, and if so, if it is the best way to achieve the goal. If, for instance, a slight change in specifications results in a big performance gain or a much lower error margin, try to get the specs changed. It is often much more efficient for the appropriate applications consultant to look over the user requirements first, to make sure that what the user wants is consistent with what SAP can provide. For instance, the user may confuse one-to-many relationships, and ask that a single line be used to display information that is multi-dimensional. The applications consultant is most in tune with these details, and can save the programmer much wasted time by correcting any program design problems early.
  6. Learn to use ABAP/4 queries, and use them where appropriate. They're not quite as efficient, but they require no programming, can be set up in minutes, and can be set up directly on your productive system without transporting from the development system. Good for temporary solutions or for reports that are not run very often.

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