SAP S/4HANA Migration with SAP Activate: The Prepare Phase

Every SAP S/4HANA Cloud migration project needs to establish a “game plan and rules of engagement” to keep all project team members moving towards the common goal.


The Project Management workstream in the SAP Activate methodology covers most of the necessary deliverables and tasks that the project manager and project team need to provide as a game plan for everyone involved in the project.


Prepare Phase Deliverables

Typical project management deliverables in the Prepare phase include the following:

  • Project initiation and governance
  • Project plans, schedule, and budget
  • Project kickoff and project team onboarding materials
  • Project standards and project infrastructure

Putting these fundamentals in place will help the project team focus on reaching the project’s objectives and enable your business to realize the goals stated in the business case.


Let’s look at each of these deliverables closely.


Project Initiation and Governance

The purpose of the project initiation and governance deliverable is to formally recognize that a new project exists and to initiate work on the project. During this time, the project sponsor and project manager work to align stakeholders around the project and its scope, provide updated information for planning, and obtain a commitment to proceed.


As part of the initiation activities, the project manager conducts a handover from the discover phase, creates a project charter document and scope statement document, and establishes the project governance to ensure a proper management process for the project.


These activities achieve alignment between the SAP system integrator, the customer’s project team, the company’s strategic direction, and the satisfaction of operational requirements for the solution.


Project governance is a critical management framework for the project to ensure that decisions are made in a structured manner. It establishes a policy for the project team, project, project stakeholders, executives, and system integrators that clearly specifies roles, responsibilities, accountability, and organizational setup.


As shown in the figure below, project governance provides a decision-making framework that is robust and logical to ensure that decisions are timely and approved by the authorized personnel.


SAP S/4HANA Project Governance Org Chart


If you skip this key deliverable of governance, the project is not formally approved by the customer sponsor, and the project manager is not authorized to apply organizational resources to project activities. Additionally, you risk having the scope of the project being misunderstood and project governance processes remaining undefined.


Project Plans, Schedule, and Budget

Planning activities during the early stages of the SAP S/4HANA migration project include developing project management plans, preparing the project’s work breakdown structure (WBS), and defining the project’s schedule and budget.


The project management plan is a comprehensive document that details plans for managing schedules, budgets, issues, risks, project changes, and so on. The SAP Activate methodology provides you with guidance and templates for creating a management plan for your SAP S/4HANA Cloud project.


Further, the SAP Activate methodology gives you a detailed WBS in the SAP Roadmap Viewer that your project manager can use to define and sequence required tasks within the scope of the project.


Project Kickoff and Onboarding

To formally start the project, the project manager schedules a kickoff meeting. This will include discussion of project objectives, organizational structure, roles and responsibilities, project governance, schedule, scope, communication standards, change request processes, and decision-making processes.


The kickoff meeting should be attended by the project team, key stakeholders, the project sponsor, and company executives. 


Project Standards and Infrastructure

Project standards provide a consistent means of executing and governing project work in an efficient and effective manner. You’ll elaborate these standards throughout the Prepare phase, though you can fine-tune some standards later in the project.


The project team must establish minimum project standards for the following areas:

  • Requirements management
  • Configuration and documentation
  • Authorizations and security
  • Test planning and execution
  • Change management
  • Post-implementation support and new user onboarding

To support adherence to project standards, the project team also sets up the project team environment and ensures that project team members have the appropriate level of access to the customer facility, project room, and the project systems.


This activity also involves IT support to set up project team workstations, including installing and updating the required software such as internet browsers, communication tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, or collaboration environments like SAP Community and MURAL.



An SAP S/4HANA migration project takes a lot of preparation and planning. SAP understands this and has created the SAP Activate methodology as a way for businesses to follow a framework towards implementation.


While each of the phases of this methodology are important, the Prepare phase helps set the tone for the whole project and should be given extra attention. The four deliverables outlined above help accomplish this; make sure you have robust plans for completing each.


Learn more about agile project delivery for SAP in this free chapter excerpt.


Also explore five golden rules for implementing SAP S/4HANA with SAP Activate here.



Editor’s note: This post has been adapted from a section of the book SAP Activate: Project Management for SAP S/4HANA by Sven Denecken, Jan Musil, and Srivatsan Santhanam.


SAP Activate: Project Management for SAP S/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA Cloud
SAP Activate: Project Management for SAP S/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA Cloud

Planning your SAP S/4HANA implementation project? This book has the expert guidance you need for every step of the journey! Learn about SAP Activate, including key concepts, the methodology, and supporting technologies. Understand your workstreams for configuration, data migration, extensibility, and more—then dive into deployment. Walk through the key phases and deliverables for your project, whether you’re performing a new implementation or system conversion, and see what’s possible with a two-tier ERP setup. Get ready for a successful go-live!

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