Best Practices for Planning, Testing, and Deploying Changes in a Mature SAP ERP Landscape

  • by Michael A. Moore
  • September 12, 2013
/Project Management
Mike Moore, an SAP technical solution architect, explains the benefits of using an N+1 landscape model when making project and production support changes, including avoiding long production support freezes. He shows how to implement it, drawing on lessons learned during deployment.
Key Concept

The SAP N+1 landscape provides a solution for lowering the risk associated with developing production support and project changes that are part of a single landscape. This development involves a different architecture and avoids some of the potential disadvantages that come with a normal landscape model.

A typical deployment landscape consists of a development, test, and production system.   In more complex, highly integrated systems, landscapes optionally incorporate a quality assurance system. Initially, this landscape architecture suffices for stabilization efforts consisting of fixes and moderately complex changes, such as production support changes. However, as soon as major enhancements, such as project implementation, are included, the single development landscape proves inefficient, requiring long production support freezes.

Historically, the solution has been to complete proof-of-concept development in a sandbox environment. Once the project team has a solid design, they move into the development system and initiates a production support code freeze for all but emergency change requests. However, the code freeze often thaws when the business pushes for changes it considers urgent. As production support changes and project changes are coded in parallel in the same system landscape, there is a risk of migrating project code to the production system too soon. Risk occurs when product support development and project development occur in the same system. For instance, a technical change such as Support Packs implemented in the Development system prevents transports from being sent to production.

The N+1 landscape offers a solution that overcomes the disadvantages associated with a single landscape. The solution consists of a set of development and change management practices that allow for dual development paths for both production support and project development while maintaining a single system of change. I discuss a successful implementation of an SAP N+1 landscape and the lessons learned from the deployment. I walk you through the benefits and risks of taking this approach, as well as compare it to more traditional approaches. First, I break down the types of systems involved.

Michael A. Moore

Michael A. Moore has been an IT consultant for 24 years with more than 12 years of experience as an SAP technical architect. Mike has held positions with DuPont, Westinghouse, IBM, and Accenture. His clients have included public sector, consumer products, manufacturing, and financial companies. For the past seven years, Mike's career has focused on SAP technical architecture, where he is responsible for SAP financial, logistics, asset management, and business intelligence solutions for a US federal public sector customer. Mike received his bachelor's degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and holds numerous certifications including PMP, ITIL Foundations, Certified Scrum Master (Agile), and several SAP certifications. 

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