Why We Keep Making the Same Mistakes: Systemic Issues and Cultural Challenges

  • by George Anderson, Senior Director & GPE, Microsoft Services
  • August 15, 2014
George Anderson explains several systemic issues behind why SAP project and support teams keep re-living the same mistakes year after year and then provides several measures and actionable next steps you can take to remedy the problem.
Learning Objectives

Reading this article, you will learn how to:

  • Identify which of several systemic issues best explains your SAP team’s current state with regard to organizational memory lapses
  • Frame a number of cultural “what,” “how,” and “who” dimensions helpful in understanding your own team’s workplace climate and thus its ability to change
  • Take action targeting specific areas of improvement using a simple four-step process
Key Concept

Several systemic issues help explain why our SAP organizations are often destined to repeat past mistakes. They range from organizational memory lapses to cultural dimensions and workplace realities.

John Dobbins and I recently outlined the top 10 worst ERP practices that continue to be made year after year. In talking through this matter with other colleagues and customers, it seems that several systemic issues are at work, including degraded organizational memory, distracted work teams, and the absence of effective knowledge management. Behind the scenes, there are additional cultural or workplace climate factors that help explain these memory lapses and subsequent missteps. I outline these factors and bring them together in a way that allows for a bit of introspection, better awareness explaining why SAP IT and project teams keep repeating the same mistakes throughout the years, and specific actions intended to conquer this cycle of missteps.

George Anderson

As a senior director and global program executive for an arm of Microsoft's consulting business, Dr. George Anderson leads teams of program and project managers, architects, and enterprise consulting professionals tasked with deploying various ERP solutions and other business applications. He’s co-authored several books including SAP Implementation Unleashed and the Teach Yourself SAP in 24 Hours series, serves as an adjunct professor teaching various project management and systems analysis courses, and holds a number of credentials including PMI PMP and several SAP and Microsoft certifications alongside a PhD in leadership/organizational change, an MBA with a concentration in Human Resource Management, and a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

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