Case Study: How a Government Organization Improved Its ChaRM Release Strategy and Release Management Process

  • by Vessy Panayotova, Solution Manager Technical Analyst, Employment and Social Development Department, Government of Canada
  • May 10, 2016
Streamline the release management process by using a little-known, out-of-the-box Change Request Management (ChaRM) functionality that requires very little customizing. The main benefits are a clear auditing trace and ease of release planning.
Learning Objectives

Reading this article, you will learn:

  • How to use existing Change Request Management (ChaRM) functionality to streamline the release management process in a dual-track landscape scenario by using different types of projects
  • How to enhance the release management process with two custom concepts: a release ID field and a naming convention
Key Concept
Retrofit is the process of synchronizing changes across development systems. The goal is to maintain an up-to date implementation landscape that contains the latest versions of the objects that have gone live in the maintenance (three systems) landscape.

In a typical three-system SAP landscape, there are several options for moving changes from development to testing and then to the production environment. Over the years, and after the introduction of Solution Manager and Change Release Management (ChaRM), this process became much more robust and organized, but also a bit complex and intimidating. Additionally, SAP introduced the dual-track concept, which was widely adopted as a better alternative to refreshing or swapping systems.

In early 2014, a large implementation by one of the many Canadian government organizations using SAP started to use ChaRM for releases. I worked on two large implementations in two different government organizations, and I saw similar issues and struggles in both.

About 18 months after Go Live and the completion of a number of small and big releases in the second project, we understood that the simpler and easier technical way of managing projects with ChaRM was not the only option. With some help from SAP and a lot of reading, we discovered an alternative. It takes a little more technical involvement, but offers greater benefits to the release management process. We started learning this second option and additionally improved on it with a few custom details to adjust to the organization’s release management model.

Vessy Panayotova

Vessy Panayotova is an experienced certified SAP Solution Manager professional working for the government of Canada, focusing on ITSM, ChaRM, and Solman project administration. She has more than 15 years of SAP experience in configuring, testing, and support of various SAP modules, and has experience in ABAP, Basis, and Portals. For the last five years she has concentrated on SAP Solution Manager 7.0 and 7.1. Vessy holds an engineering degree in electronics from Technical University in Sofia, Bulgaria.

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