How Do You Know Your PLM Project is in Trouble?

Blogosphere and other literature are full of remarks about companies that stuck in different phases of PLM process. You probably had a chance to read Aras’ Frustrated by a stuck PLM project? blog post last year. Recent Autodesk announcement of Nexus PLM raised again many publications about the complexity and sophistication of existing PLM implementations. While time will show if Autodesk cloud PLM technologies will be able to reduce the complexity of PLM implementations, I’ve been thinking about how you can today to identify your own PLM project (if you are running one already) is in trouble.

I had a chance to read infoworld article earlier this week – Six lessons from lightning ERP rollout. Have a read and make your opinion. I especially like the following passage from the beginning:

Here’s something you don’t hear everyday: "Our SAP implementation finished ahead of schedule. Sorry, let me rephrase that. Hearing about an SAP implementation that finished ahead of schedule is like hearing that someone captured the Loch Ness Monster and turned it into a kiddie ride. It’s as likely as Bigfoot singing "La Traviata" at Lincoln Center. It’s as if you called a software company’s tech support line and the voice on the other end didn’t insist you reboot your PC.

This article made me think (again and again) about how you need to plan your PLM implementations. Here is my top 5 symptoms you should be careful about. When you discover them, you better check what you do with your PLM project:

1. You cannot control your PLM project budget. As R&D, you know that "shit happens" all the time. However, be aware – the achievements of your PLM system will be significantly diminished when you overspend 200-300%.

2. Engineers and other people in your company work around PLM system. This is should be a "red-flag" for you. If people think the system doesn’t work (or way too complex), check your fasten belt and run fast to understand what is the core reason for that.

3. The infrastructure becomes more and more complicated. You need more databases, storage, CPU, etc.You are probably familiar with that – after first pilot, the system requirements are growing. Watch carefully the fist production data load. Your bill of materials, check-in/out operations and some other elements are sensitive and your can run out of budget fast.

4. Vendor is pushing you towards the next release of their flagship product. This is another "red-flag". Normally, it means something was over-promised by sales fellows. Watch this moment as well.

5. You start hearing that you will be able to take a full advantage of your PLM system when you completely integrate it with your ERP (and other systems) as well as migrate to another CAD system. This is, actually, the right time to stop and re-think what you do. The best talk with somebody who is not involved in the business of PLM vendors.

What is my conclusion? Looking up on what I wrote, I found symptoms that probably will be true not only for PLM, but for a broader range of enterprise software. However, as you probably know, in PLM and enterprise, one size doesn’t fit all. You need to have a diversity of knowledge and experience to make thing work. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

picture courtesy digitalart /

2 Responses to How Do You Know Your PLM Project is in Trouble?

  1. I am a PLM consultant. Despite I agree that most of cases are full of problems similar to the 5 points you describe, I have to say my implementations are out of this stuff.

    The two keys to avoid that are:

    1. The truth is cruel even during the presales process. The customer has to be aware of that and all has to be considered in the quotation. A paid previous consultancy is not a useless waste of money but a worthy information about yourself.

    2. Listen to the managers and think about the users. Never save time in training and implementation follow up.

    Ask to my customers…

  2. Andreu, thanks for your comment! I especially like your point about managers and users. To keep the balance is extremely important. Best, Oleg

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