Why Project Management is important for PLM?

plm-projectI had chance to write about Project Management in the past. However, I decided to get back to this topic again. Few days I had chance to read CIMData press release “CIMdata Releases a Review of IFS’ Project-Based PLM Support Capabilities” and I found it extremely interesting even in broader scope.

This is what Mr. Bilello wrote –  “Our research and experience,” said Mr. Bilello “clearly indicates that the success of a project is built on the development of accurate cost estimates, in much the same way as in project-driven manufacturing companies, which in turn are based on a well-defined project scope and work schedule that are well managed and monitored, and are sensitive to changes and limitations of resources and other work items.” Mr. Bilello emphasized the importance of treating cost estimating, project scheduling, and project cost control as an integrated process rather than a disjointed set of activities. “A key challenge when trying to develop this integrated process is the management of information and the association of that information to the tasks that create and use it.”

I’m very agreeing with Mr. Bilello- to develop an integrated process that able to have access and association with right information is the key capability and need from project-oriented enterprises, whatever type they are – discrete manufacturing or construction. So, getting back to my earlier conclusion the following 3 steps  can be, in my view, very important for forward thinking PLM implementations and PLM vendors/providers.

1. PLM Content and other related product information. This is an important enabler from the side of PLM. Content need to be available. To be able to re-use right design, engineering, manufacturing and supply chain content that controlled and managed from the life cycle standpoint by PLM systems.

2. Project Tools able to integrate and interplay with PLM content. Both PLM, but very important Project Management tools need to develop a capability to work with an extended set of information related to tasks and their optimization. Project Management tools need to become “project optimization engine” for every kind of content related to execution of a project.

3. Overall monitoring tools. I don’t see it necessarily part of PLM or Project Manager or even both. My point here is that people need to have one stream of information monitoring these days. Your decision, what is important, but I think vendors need to deliver one set of tools for users.

So, what is my conclusion? Project management is one of the key drivers to move execution in an organization of every type. However, they are not efficient when they cannot have right information in their hands to help people to use it efficiently. PLM can use project management tools and capabilities to deliver information to people doing execution as well as decision makers in an organization. To make this link will be very important. However, I don’t believe PLM vendors have sufficient specialization in order to develop a full scope project management tool. Therefore, to find right balance and re-use project management infrastructure, will be key priority for PLM vendor in the near future.

Best, Oleg


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  • Ajit Kini

    Oleg,our very own Dassault System’s ENOVIA Program Central caters to exactly what you are talking.Well,I am not sure whether all aspects you are discussing are covered by this product.



  • Interesting post Oleg. I see this as a critical area where PLM can increasingly demonstrate its impact on the efficiency and profitability of manufacturing organizations in the future. I think PLM vendors need to do more to make the integration of project management with PLM easy to implement through the availabilty of “best-practice” templates for typical projects such as new product introduction and major product revisions.
    I see that Mr. Bilello highlights the importance of project cost estimating and cost control with these tools – we just added new capabilities in this area to our latest release of Teamcenter Express in response to customer requests.

  • Ajit, I think you are right. DS ENOVIA Program Central can do many of this stuff. What is important, in my view, is to see how content is naturally flowing into Project Tools. Another concern is because of growing demands for general project management tools… I don’t think this is something PLM companies have to focus on. Best, Oleg

  • Dave, we are in agreement, PLM needs Project Management and Execution. I just worry to see PLM Providers are trying to replicate general project management tools. Best, Oleg

  • I like this part: “Project management is one of the key drivers to move execution in an organization of every type. However, they are not efficient when they cannot have right information in their hands to help people to use it efficiently.”

    This applies across the board, Project Managers cannot do their job properly if they are shielded from the necessary information.

  • PM Hut, thanks for your comment! Indeed ability of project management tool to lead organizational activity is tightly depends on information availability. Project without this information will be blind and inefficient. Regards, Oleg

  • Check out Aras Innovator..has Project Management tools tightly integrated into PLM environment..so you can you can go from a work breakdown structure view of a project directly into the BOM view, link product information to tasks, drive tasks through workflow alongside engineering change..also integrates with MS Project for complex project authoring tasks..very simple, very good..and you can download for free at http://www.aras.com and subscribe later if you want..
    Regards Graham

  • PS..good project management reporting and analytics too

  • Graham, Thank you! I had some experience with Aras. Indeed level of integration with PLM environment is good. I think, also ENOVIA and TC have decent solutions in integrating PM and rest of PLM products. Regards, Oleg.

  • I found project management to be a great place to start implementing PLM. Executives get something useful sooner. They can see the status of projects that directly benefit the business. Other PLM capabilities become continuous improvement projects that are on a roadmap and get explained in terms of improving project execution.

  • Tom, Agree with you. Project Management is something that gives “practical move” to PLM initiatives. This is probably easier one, compared to things like “design to manufacturing” etc. Thanks for your comments! Oleg.

  • AndyF

    We are starting to see some project management benefits from the PLM system. Once all of the status data is in the system then it is fairly easy to pull that data out into reports that managers find useful.

    I’m not so sure about trying to add in stuff like milestones and critical path logic to the PLM system though. Some PLM vendors have tried to take the approach of adding every possible feature to their software. Often that just results in bloated code which is so complicated that nobody ever manages to actually install or use the whole thing.

  • Andy, I think, what you mentioned as “adding every possible feature” was about PLM project management. The problem, in my view, was about how to replace tools like Project etc… What is, indeed, beneficial is to integrate Product Data with Project management information inside of PLM system. Best, Oleg