Community Based Planning and Future PLM Industry Roadmap

Social becomes a norm these days. It is interesting to see how many things surrounding us transformed and wearing "social clothes" these days. One of the elements of social impact in the realm of manufacturing and engineering software is an increased influence of "communities". Software vendors and customers recognized the value communities can bring to improve the quality of software and the efficiency of internal and external processes.

Engineering and manufacturing software is characterized by a high level of requirement diversification. Therefore, requirements and functionality are one of the most argued topic in PLM software. Recently, I observed an interesting social experiment – an attempt to bring customers into the discussion of what the software should do.

One of the examples came from Aras Corp and related to PLM Roadmap on the website. The roadmap is a web site with a publicly available plan of features of Aras Innovator. Web site gives you an ability to vote for a particular feature exactly in the same way you can do "Like" or "+1" in social networks. The idea seems to me great and provides an excellent example of openness and flexibility in functional planning.

Another example came from Autodesk. Navigate to the following link and see Autodesk discussion forum. According to my understanding, each forum belongs to a particular module, product or package. Users have an ability to discuss ideas in this group and have a possibility to "Vote" for a specific functionality by providing "+Kudos" to a particular idea.

PLM roadmap challenge

If you take 3 people and ask them about PLM features and functions, you are in a high risk to have at least 5 opinions. Actually, it is not a joke. To have an agreed PLM roadmap is a challenge. Very often, even experienced product managers, can be challenged by how to drive an optimal roadmaps and implementation priorities.

What is my conclusion? How to plan PLM software functionality? I can see it very often as a challenge for many companies. Community based voting can provide a flavor of openness to customers. It seems to me as an innovative way to think about planning process. At the same time, I want to go even future and share PLM functional breakdown outside to create an industry PLM roadmap. What do you think about this idea? Speak your mind. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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