SAP Upgrades - Key team members

When I left my last project, I sent out notes to my colleagues who were the most helpful. That note mentioned that if I had to put together a dream team for my next project, that I'd want them to be on that list. In the back of my mind, I started thinking of why specific people were so valuable.

So here is my list of who should go on a dream team for SAP upgrades:

I. The Team

1. Project Manager
2. ABAP Programmer (depending on what is being upgraded)
3. Database Administrator
4. Operating (Windows/Unix) Administrator
5. Storage/SAN Administrator
6. Basis Administrator (I almost forgot that one!)
7. SAP Architect (if different from above)
8. Company Sponsor

II. Explanation

Project Manager

The best projects I've worked on included project managers who constantly worked to keep the lines of communication open. When there was a delay in the project or a major stumbling block (failed updates, corrupted upgrade status files, etc.), they took care of the communication while the technical team worked the issue. When outside resources needed to be brought in, they also took the lead on providing background information and ensuring access.

ABAP Programmer

A good ABAP'er is needed during the SPDD/SPAU update process. It makes the upgrade smoother and the validation process shorter and more reliable. For ECC upgrades, it is especially important to have a programmer review needed changes and stage them for the next system in the landscape.

Database Administrator

This is a key player on the technical side. They need to be able to answer these questions:
- Does the DB have enough space/capacity to handle the upgrade?

- Has the DB been backed up!

- Is the DB out of log archive mode (going into the downtime)

- What is needed for any possible upgrade to a new database version (if that is included)?

Unix/Windows Administrator

As with the DB admins, these technical players need to know if the upgrade on an OS level is possible and answer these questions:

- Has the OS been setup according the the recommendations from SAP (you'd be surprised how often this is not true)

- For any HA environments, has the system been tested prior to the install (if that is possible)?

Storage/SAN Administrator

The storage admin needs to be able to:

- Ensure there is enough space (duh).
- Be able to resolve an I/O issues

- Make sure the system is being backed up at the OS level.

Basis Administrator
This is the key technical role during the upgrade. The Basis Admin prepares for and completes the upgrade on the technical side. They also need to have experience with previous upgrades, be able to work through routine upgrade issues, and know when to call for outside help when needed.

SAP Architect

For larger projects that involve external systems and/or High Availability setups, having an architect can be crucial. Being able to encompass all external systems during testing and ensuring that the environments all match can be critical during an upgrade project. An architect should ensure that the infrastructure

Company Sponsor

This person is critical because you need someone from the executive level to highlight the importance of an upgrade. When you don't have a key player that supports the application and the upgrade, you may face an uphill battle of getting resources assigned to the project and having those resources complete their tasks within the required time frame.