Should I keep secrets from my PLM system?

Product Lifecycle Management pretend to manage everything in the organization that related to product, information about product, development IP etc . So far, a pretty long list. The ultimate PLM goal, is to manage product lifecycle from an initial idea until disposal. When I’m thinking about such as goal is always sounding big and ambitious. However, do we really need it to success with PLM?

Maybe we can learn from people experience in non-PLM areas. I was reading interesting post on New Com Biz related to people notebooks. I discover some interesting observations related to notebook (paper, not computer :)) management. You can see below a picture of weekly pages separated into four zones – Work, Projects, Personal, Misc. You can consider it as a weekly lifecycle. So far, this approach will not manage all your tasks, but will provide you quite good control on what is going on.

My experience in the area of digital control is related to my own implementation of GTD (Getting Things Done) in my Outlook system. If you are not familiar with GTD approach, take a look on this book. Take a look on the picture. You can see a stream of incoming messages, contextual folders, next actions, projects etc. This is an ultimate system to control your digital life.

My Getting Things Done Folders

My Getting Things Done Folders

Now, back to PLM. Should we take “total approach” and manage everything related to a product with PLM? The answer probably yes, but the long term. For the short term, please keep secrets from PLM. Don’t give PLM system power to make your life complex. You better keep your PLM implementation simple and get your things done on time.

Best, Oleg


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  • Oleg,
    Great post. I admire those of you with the ambition to “manage everything.” I’m not that ambitious. I lean more towards the 90/10 rule. Get the 90% that matter (or at least try to). And honestly I struggle with that 🙂

  • How do PLM systems manage an “Idea”? How does PLM enhance an “Idea” into a product? I know this is the marketing of PLM but I have never seen how the Idea phase been delivered… Have the system just not gotten there or have the customer not yet used this functionality?

  • Tac, thanks! I remember many years ago, somebody told me – when you don’t know how to call function in your system, call it “management” :)… so, I think systems in enterprise domain need to be more specific and focused on adoption rate first. Regards, Oleg

  • Chris, I never seen “idea function” module in PLM system. I had chance to see Microsoft demo with Aras where idea management was part of the demo, but I think this is more MS best practices on top of MOSS and Project Server. I know few systems doing “idea” management and innovation management, but I think this is not related to PLM… Best, Oleg.

  • Hi Oleg and Chris,

    I think this is a very interesting discussion and agree with your conclusions that idea capture is not necessarily the purview of PLM. PLM is tasked with managing content through a structured and well defined set of product development processes. The nature of PLM does not lend itself to the fluid activities related to idea generation, capture, and problem solving. I believe this is where social product development can help. In answer to your question, I do think it makes sense to keep certain secrets from your PLM system.

  • Hi Robin, Thanks for your thoughts! In my view, you articulated very well conflict I blogged about in AS you said “PLM is tasked with managing content through a structured and well defined set of product development processes”. The simplicity of social networking and other “fluid activities” hardly can be connected with this structured processes and I see here main point of conflict together with extremely complicated and matured environments we have. So, I’m very interested to see more examples vuuch and productpoint can demonstrate in this space. Best, Oleg.

  • Oleg I agree I have never seen one either but look at your definition of PLM from “Idea” to “Disposal”… I have also not seen a Disposal Module, have you? I think the Disposal area needs further exploration because this s very much a rigid process and since we are in a “Green” postive mode it is something that should become more and more important. Thoughts???

  • Robin from what you are saying it seems you also agree with the People Centric PLM position I wrote and that current PLM system cannot get up stream from release.

  • Chris, the most widely used “disposal module” is so called MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO)). In addition, I think, some regulations also focus on “disposability”. But you are right, this is relatively new topic. Regards, Oleg.

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