“How many years of experience / successful projects do you have with this SAP solution?”
In many interviews I have used this question in my role as a project manager when selecting resources for one of my projects. The rationale behind this was always clear for me: I want to hire experience for my projects in order to ensure a good quality and think I can only accept a certain percentage of more inexperienced SAP experts.
Obviously, this questions does not work so well for a new solution where no one can have years of experience (funny enough, I sometimes received CVs from “experts” claiming more years of experience than the SAP solution was on the market). As I managed several innovation projects over the years in such situations I asked about experiences in similar areas or basic areas (e.g. natural language processing for text analysis with SAP HANA) in order to find good candidates.
But today on a long flight back home to Germany I read a quite interesting article in the Harvard Business Review about the career progression of medical doctors with the key statement that patients who receive treatments from younger doctors are less likely to die within 30 days after their treatment. Due to my training as a data scientist there are a lot of questions connected with this statement such as:
Is this effect caused by the fact that the more inexperienced doctors get the less serious cases?
But let’s focus for a moment on my questions about your age mix within your SAP project: Is the assumption really true that the more experienced consultants are ensuring a better quality within the project or is it better to have younger expert on the team who have fresh knowledge from their studies and their training?
Looking back at my SAP projects for over 17 years - you see I am really biased in favor of experienced experts - the answers seems to become a bit more difficult the longer I think about it:
For sure all of these thoughts need to consider that normally a project has a very limited budget so that junior experts need to be included anyway in order to stay within the funding limits.
If I try to sum up all these thoughts in one answer to my question a clear NO comes up. SAP experts do not get worse over time but more experience does not mean that you are getting better over time either. Therefore, today I always add one question when interviewing experienced SAP experts: What has been your last learning experiences for a subject outside your area of expertise you are normally working on in your projects?
What do you think? Please leave your comments below.