PLM Prompt: A Roadmap to PLM Success?

I wanted to share with you funny picture from flowingdata. This picture reminds me a lot about PLM implementations and various PLM methodologies. Nevertheless, now, let me ask you few serious questions.

What is a roadmap to PLM success in the organization?

What is a roadmap to successful PLM implementation?

I’m going to think and blog about this next week, but would be interested to hear your voices…

Best, Oleg


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  • AndyF

    I like that illustration but it seems to be missing the liars, I mean the sales people!

    Where is the group of sales people saying that PLM will do this and that and if it doesn’t then it is just an easy modification that our service team can help with?

    Also, that illustration needs to show some checkpoints such as “pay $2M here” and “release 9.1 destroys your data”.


  • Andy, thanks for comments! To keep your mood (and considering my time – I’m in Europe) I’d think about how to accumulate comments and create “Picture 2.0” with changes :)… Best, Oleg

  • I guess I am not so cynical about PLM as to enjoy the picture (although I certainly see elements of truth in it) 🙂

    If I am interpreting correctly, I believe you are asking two separate questions (that in fact have different answers). So I will tackle each, in turn.

    I think there are a couple of key things on the “road to PLM success in an organization”:
    1) education about PLM philosophy (not software training) so everyone is speaking the same language
    2) process mapping so that the organization can understand its current state (otherwise there will be insufficient motivation for change)
    3) executive goal setting (align the team to a common goal)
    4) COMMUNICATION (this is always a problem)
    5) insert successful PLM implementation here
    6) measurement (to celebrate success as a team, and to set goals for refinement)
    7) repeat steps 4-7 as appropriate

    I believe there are also some keys on the path to a successful PLM implementation:
    1) Project goals clearly defined with success criteria
    2) Resources assigned (people, money, time)
    3) Team communications up and running (who will report status, when will status be updated, what is the change process, etc.)
    4) Core group trained and bonded as a team (with full buy-in on the project goals)
    5) Small activity planned and accomplished to demonstrate success and to build momentum
    6) Wider group of users trained and made successful (do not leave this step until people are successful)
    7) Repeat steps as appropriate to increase functionality until all goals are met

    I am curious to hear what others have to say about this.

  • Jonathan, Thank you very much for your comments. I think your suggestion is a great implementation and strategic plan. However, I will try to refine my questions based on what your wrote. I’m afraid, this is too generic… don’t you feel so? I agree, since I asked abbout “implementation” it make a lot of sense to have something applicable regardless to a specific product. But, what is the role of PLM (or not PLM) software in PLM implementation? What can bring to failure or, as opposite, to accelerate success?
    Thanks! Oleg

  • Francois


    I would answer both questions by the same answer, which is not unique:

    1. List your reasons to implement PLM
    2. prioritize the reasons introducing 3 levels
    3. Limit yourself to first priority
    4. For first priorities, prioritize into 3 levels
    5. Repeat step 3 to 4 until you have only 3 reasons.
    6. Implement the first reason and the second reason only.

    Measure the achievement of first reason.
    Do not expect the second one to be achieved. It is only here to push people at least to achieve the first one.

  • Francois, Thanks for comment and your insight. What I like very much is “work on first reason”, since second might not happen. Best, Oleg

  • Patrick Ollerton

    Amusing image, with a few true metaphors. I would add something:

    A mirror at the start of the journey. So whoever wants to climb the summit can honestly check they are ready for the climb. And if not, information on what can they change to prepare themselves. Some experienced professional advice is crucial here.

    Often companies have unrealistic expectations of what PLM can deliver or what is needed to realize it, so I always feel a solid understand of where you currently are (looking at several dimensions, one of which being process) and where you’d like to be is crucial. Then thorough evaluation of software capabilities is required (sorry, some early training is unavoidable if you want success) so the gaps can be identified. This, as you all know, can be a very difficult task, but by using a focus on enabling the process tasks through technology, it can be simplified. Then you have to face the important question of what to change to get to the desired state? my business or the software? Or both? And how, and why?

    All difficult questions indeed, often requiring broad skills sets, knowledge and experience.

  • Patrick Ollerton

    Other points as key, and certainly reasons we see as causes of issues are

    1) Lack of alignment of PLM project with corporate or product development goals and objectives. The strategic direction of any PLM initiative must support overall company strategy.

    2) Unclear understanding of key business metrics and how they relate to lower level performance measurements in product development. These should be used to drive the design of the processes + system.

    3) The lack of effective and timely training and adoption programs. Too often users are left floundering in a sea of new functions and tasks, and this problem can be easily avoided with the right commitment and resources.

  • Patrick, Thanks! Mirror is a very good idea. In many cases people see huge potential value, but not ready to provide commitment, effort and skills to make it work. Best, Oleg

  • Ajit Kini


    Right Resource(People,infra etc) at the the Right Place having Right Skill sets and Experience(Software development,Training etc) is required for a successful PLM implementation.

    At the end of the day its how well the things are managed will decide how long the implementations endure.

    That’s my opine.

    -Ajit Kini

  • Ajit, Thank you for your view. On my side, I’m struggling with the fact we are very dependent on resources to be successful. However it looks like enterprise software (and not PLM software) problem. Regards, Oleg.