How to make quality measurable in SAP S/4HANA projects

In this blog post I would like to address the question “How to make quality in SAP S/4HANA projects measurable”. There is no unit for the quality dimension such as time (years, months, days, hours, minutes, seconds), costs ($, €, £, etc.) or the scope (defined deliverables, functions, processes).

It is therefore more difficult to make the quality dimension measurable and transparent. In the following I describe a derivation of how quality can be made measurable and transparent top down from project management to quality gates, testing and, if desired, down to development and coding.

The project management square

The project management square shows that interventions in one dimension have an impact on other dimensions. The shape of the square is distorted, as shown in the example with the purple square.

The dimensions are:

  • Quality
  • Scope
  • Time
  • Cost

The quality dimension is located at the top left of the graphic, which I will discuss in more detail below.

Source: Own illustration based on Harry Sneed

Measuring the quality in the different project phases according to SAP Activate

In projects, it is advisable to continuously check and measure the quality. This happens in different ways in the respective project phases.

In the specifying Discover, Prepare and Explore phases, the quality can be checked in particular by tracking the status of the deliverables and by conduct reviews. This methods are so called “static tests”.

In the realizing phase Realize almost always test cases are executed, with which the quality of the individual functions and processes can be checked and measured. This methods are so called  “dynamic tests”, which means nothing else than that an object (code, program, function, process) is executed on the system.

Source: Own illustration

Quality Gates (QG)

Ideally, each project phase is completed with a Quality Gate (QG) check. This ensures that the deliverables and criteria defined in the respective project phase are actually met and successfully completed.

Source: Own illustration based on SAP Activate

As an example, the QG can be described and checked with a simple table:

Source: Own illustration

Software quality according to ISO 25010

According to the ISO standard 25010, there are the following quality features that can be checked for software.

Since standard software is mostly used in SAP projects, the focus is often on the quality feature “functionality”, which can be verified through tests and detected defects.

Source: Own illustration based on ISO 25010

Metrics for the Test Management

During the implementation phase of the project, testing is the first opportunity to check the quality of the software, functions and processes on the system. It is quite normal and even desirable that a large number of errors are initially uncovered and found during the first test iterations. After all, detecting errors is one of the most important principles and goals of software testing.

Basically, there are always two dimensions during a test phase that are relevant for measuring quality:

  • Test cases: Number of created test cases that are then executed.
  • Defects: Number of detected defects that are recorded and corrected according to priority.

Based on these two dimensions, the values ​​can be evaluated according to the desired key figures.

It is advisable to use the support of a suitable test tool such as the SAP Solution Manager with Focused Build or SAP Cloud ALM. This is because these key figures can be displayed and evaluated in a dashboard at the push of a button.

Here are some key figures for the dimensions test cases and errors:

Source: SAP Focused Build Dashboards

Source: SAP Solution Manager and Focused Build

Quality at development level

At the development (coding) level, there are many other tools in the SAP environment with which the quality, in this case the code quality, can also be checked and measured at the lowest level. However, the use of these tools requires in-depth knowledge of SAP software developers. The following blog posts describe the individual tools very well.

In summary, it can be said that quality should be checked at different levels and at different times in a project.

The subject of quality management also requires serious preparation and lead time so that this discipline is available in the project at the right time.

The software quality is proven in projects in particular through tests and detected errors, which in turn takes place during the project implementation phase. This shows whether the developed functions, processes and customizing have been implemented correctly and without errors.

The project manager, together with the customer and ideally the entire project team, decide together and within the conflicting priorities of time, costs, scope, quality, where, when and how much is invested so that the project ends with a successful go-live. True to the motto “in time, in scope, in quality, in budget”.