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Why do people not ask their teams for help?

We talked about the user questions before (darn you, unhelpful help desks!), but there is another trend I see frequently - questions from the SAP professionals that really should be directed to their local team mates instead of SCN. I don't want to put anyone on the spot, but y'all must have seen this: functional folks asking about custom programs; ABAP developers asking Basis/DBA level questions; cross-module questions, etc. Some of them are legit (many people wear many hats these days) but on most occasions I have to wonder if the person asking supports the whole SAP system all by themselves. (By the way, I actually know one such person, he is brilliant and doesn't ask questions on SCN somehow.)

In the teams I worked in the sequence was usually as follows:

1. Try yourself (with help from Google).

2. Ask the team mates.

3. Post on SCN or contact SAP Support.

To me this seems like a very efficient process as we're able to solve many issues quickly on stage 2. So why is this not happening elsewhere? Do team mates no longer help such people because they consistently bypassed phase 1 above? Do people just have bad teams? Do people lie about their skills when hired and are then afraid it'd come out if they ask a question? What's the story here?

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9 Answers

  • Best Answer
    Aug 24, 2016 at 12:43 PM

    do you see a team here:

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    • Juergen,

      My reply was to the picture you posted. By looking at a picture, you can not "judge" "rate" team and team work.

      Same point, to infer "Not a lot of synergy is displayed here." might be incorrect.

      My comments around the picture... and not related to asking colleagues first or not. Frankly I don't care, if someone asks SCN first or his/her colleagues first. The behavior one chooses will impact his/her growth and progress in that area.

      Hope this clarifies.


  • Aug 10, 2016 at 07:21 PM

    Here is another possible case - some companies outsource all development, so to get a developer, you need to prepare a proper specification. By 'a proper specification' I mean to explain in details which exits, what function modules (with what parameters), what tables, selects, prepare mock screens of the transaction etc.

    If you don't have good project documentation and if you are not lucky to have a techno-functional colleague to help you out, sometimes this can be a challenging task.

    Well, probably I would not ask for help for a custom development gone wrong in the ABAP forum, even after reading the notes, the standard code and the custom code - for the sole reason that people there would expect a level of knowledge, which I don't possess and I will just get an advise to ask a local developer for assistance.

    But maybe others don't have such scruples... or are really desperate...or have a thicker skin... no idea.

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  • Aug 11, 2016 at 05:50 PM

    Thanks for the replies!

    @Raphael - but the thing is you don't necessarily have to share knowledge to help someone. I've also worked with some people who were very knowledgeable and nice but would not really share. Still, I could ask them a question, they'd look at it and might resolve it (even if without telling me how exactly). But it looks like many people don't even try (or bother?) asking.

    @Veselina - yes, remoteness can be a problem. Actually I'm amazed that some organizations chose to isolate the ABAPers from functional team to such degree. While I wouldn't want to do an SD consultant's job, it can be beneficial to get an ABAPer involved early on, at least to make sure the whole design makes sense. Unfortunately, it's not unusual for an ABAPer to receive a specification that is either a complete nonsense or can be replaced with something much easier. And it's even worse when ABAPers in such cases are just happy to oblige instead of suggesting a better option. (We see a lot of this on SCN too.)

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  • Aug 24, 2016 at 05:28 AM

    Because they afraid to look as not competent among their colleagues;

    Rather than to annoy their team, they would simply ask questions here, because it is more private, more fast and more reliable;

    Asking questions here, they become to answer other questions later having a chance to get badge/points.


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    • Maybe you are right, but the world is small.

      For example if we get a new colleague I google to see what kind of person he/she is and adjust my behavior (e.g what is seen as completely normal in communication between colleagues in my country can be considered as unacceptably rude or too official by people with a different background). So if I happen to stumble upon a stellar resume in Linkedin - certifications, multiple projects etc., but in SCN I see recently posted user-level questions in the area of expertise - guess what I would think (I know it is bad to judge people on past behavior, but this is human nature).

      And some post with their real names (it seems) and with a profile picture of themselves - this is what baffles me.

      And getting answers from SCN is not always more reliable than getting feedback from your colleagues, who will know more about the current setup and the business processes than SCN forum members.

      Usually it is faster to ask a colleague via Lync or directly than posting here and waiting for replies, but it is bi-directional and works for meaningful questions only, not for 'do my job' and 'I am too lazy to think' ones.

  • Aug 24, 2016 at 12:38 PM

    To answer your question

    1. Laziness to put some efforts on their own or to discuss with team mates
    2. Willing to get spoon feeded
    3. Afraid of getting exposed if they share their knowledge
    4. To get some appreciation from team members as if they found out the solution after getting inputs from SCN

    G. Lakshmipathi

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  • Aug 10, 2016 at 05:52 PM

    Interesting question Jelena!

    And I think that this problem only existed here, jeez small world! 🤪

    Jelena Perfiljeva wrote:

    In the teams I worked in the sequence was usually as follows:

    1. Try yourself (with help from Google).

    2. Ask the team mates.

    3. Post on SCN or contact SAP Support.

    I also share this thought, but a little different in parts ... In all the teams I worked, what happened was the opposite of the passage I quoted ... All were very good people, but none communicated... Who say share documents / information that could be very useful!

    I recently worked in a company / team like that, and as I am a very hectic person and saw this situation began to encourage all little by little (and I ended up getting the nickname "The ABAP for various subjects" (HAHA) )

    What I realized these people is that they were afraid to pass knowledge, thinking that others could overcome them and so they lose their jobs, I think this kind of fear (the do not want to be replaced) is what makes this connection harder...

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  • Aug 22, 2016 at 07:52 AM

    It's the way i always worked but i think it's related my age and my experience.

    Apart from remoteness (i still consult with my former colleguees via skype and they do the same with me when we remember a problem was solved by someone) which can easily overridden, i think the main problem is that the companies do not want to invest in formation.

    And for formation, i mean also a way to think and approach problems.

    It could sound silly, but i saw it in previous situations and still notice it with some consultants we have: they are obliged to work in the faster way, not the best one, and when they meet something unexpected (a problem, someone like me on the other side which is an hard bone to persuade, a new situation) they just... tilt.

    This reminds me what a collegue told me once when we discuss about new vs old programming languages.

    Making it short, while old languages forced you to think out of the schemes since they limits, the new ones give you finished solutions/tools that avoid the "think something different" part.

    You code faster but you are often not so smart...

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    • ...wilt (or maybe ...bend)

      I know exactly what you mean. The other thing is that a lot of the new CM's are not Programmers - they have just learnt the semantics of the language they are using and do not or cannot think like us old 'uns.


  • Aug 24, 2016 at 01:26 PM

    I remember we had this same discussion of sorts a while back.....all great points above....I remember the prior discussion focused a lot on how in some cultures, asking for help and/or showing lack of knowledge is seen as "weakness" THAT is a big part of it too. There is probably a fairly sizable list of reasons, and none of them are a good excuse for any of that behavior.

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  • Aug 24, 2016 at 05:01 PM

    Dear lord, this reads like Psychiatry Today. So many deeply rooted mental problems and constant state of fear...

    @Juergen - this looks pretty much like our office except we have lower walls, laptops and a bit more greenery. We used to have rather spacious cubicles but some big shot decided it was a great idea to convert to "open space". So that he could see all his hamsters spinning the wheels on the way from the front door to his private corner office.

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