PLM Implementations and PLM Egoism

November 13, 2012

PLM implementation requires the change. I’m sure you had a chance to hear about it more than one times. The idea behind that is somewhat simple – PLM implementation eventually going to change the way you are doing business, your product development processes, intercommunication between people, systems and, of course, the way you are making decisions. The theme of "change" during PLM implementation is reflected online quite well in PLM blogosphere. Jos Voksuil, my long time blogging buddy, is probably one of the most prominent supporters of "change" during PLM implementation. Navigate to the following blog – The state of PLM – after 4 years of blogging to read more about how Jos sees PLM technologies and implementations these days. Here is my favorite passage about PLM implementation and change.

I believe PLM requires a change in an organization not only from the IT perspective but more important from the way people will work in an organization and the new processes they require. The change is in sharing information, making it visible and useful for others in order to be more efficient and better informed to make the right decisions much faster.

During my long flight from Boston to Europe yesterday, I read “Ending the Cults of Personality in Free Software.” This write up resonated well with my thoughts about PLM implementation and change, because personality reflected significantly in everything related in design, engineering and product development. If you are long enough in CAD business, you probably remember that very often the decision about what CAD system to use was almost religious among some engineers and designers. You can see lots of similarity these days related to the decision about Integrated vs. best of breed PLMs. Another place where discussion is heating up is related to the conversation about open vs. close PLM platforms. It takes literally years for some large organizations to decide about what PLM platform to use. One of the best way to observe it is to attend customer presentations during PLM vendor forums. You can learn many stories about organization, history of product development decisions and endless PLM roadmaps.

What is my conclusion? I found PLM implementation discussion very similar to some technological disputes. The potential danger is the ego factor. When it comes, ego factor is going one way – up! Sometimes ego may lead to a something very positive and sometimes ego can be a significant destructive factor. Time is a good validation for many egocentric decisions. This is why ERP and PLM implementations are often cyclic with 5-7 years of people’s lifecycle in an organization. When PLM implementation fails, ego might provide a bad guidance. My recommendation to PLM people is to develop "ego-detectors" :). Another piece of technology to decide about on a long transatlantic flight. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Does PLM require “plastic mind surgery”?

September 27, 2012

Usually I talk about technology and software related to engineering software and PLM. Today, I want to break the rule and speak about the topic that is not technological, but mostly psychological. I’ve been reading Jos Voskuil blog – Our brain blocks PLM acceptance. In this article Jos speaks about what role our brain plays in the selection of tools and approaches to implement PLM. Simply put, if you see a person in your organization that cannot follow PLM business transformation, blame his brain ;). Jos explains 8 mental flaws that can prevent organizations from a successful transformation towards PLM. Navigate to Jos article and have a read. I especially liked the following passage about anchoring:

Anchoring can be dangerous—particularly when it is a question of becoming anchored to the past. PLM has been anchored with being complex and expensive. Autodesk is trying to change the anchoring. Other PLM-like companies stop talking about PLM due to the anchoring and name what they do different: 3DExperience, Business Process Automation,

The topic of anchoring made me think about PLM and transformation. For the last 10-15 years, PLM vendors and PLM consultants spoke about transformation and PLM in a context of business transformation. It was mostly about how to change your business to apply PLM principles and… successfully implement PLM strategies and software. It becomes so obvious, that most of people involved into PLM development automatically apply it to their mental behavior. Thinking about new ways to implement PLM, disruptive cloud technologies, innovative business model and more, the traditional way of thinking appears as a blocking factor.

Have you had a chance to read about Dr. Maxwell Maltz? Don’t search for his name in the context of PLM :). Here is a short brief from Wikipedia:

Maxwell Maltz (March 10, 1899[1] – April 7, 1975[2]) was an American cosmetic surgeon and author of Psycho-Cybernetics (1960), which was a system of ideas that he claimed could improve one’s self-image. In turn, the person would lead a more successful and fulfilling life. He wrote several books, among which Psycho-Cyberneticswas a long-time bestseller — influencing many subsequent self-help teachers. His orientation towards a system of ideas that would provide self-help is considered the forerunner of the now popular self-help books.

Dr. Maltz found that though he could change his patients’ faces, often they would still feel bad about their appearance for psychological reasons; they were in need of a "psychological facelift." Maltz popularised the term "self-image" to describe this inner face.

PLM and "self-image" surgery

I’ve been discussing PLM with many people- developers, marketing people, sales. Very often, you can see how the existing "self-image" of PLM applies on everything they do. It applies to the complexity of the code they develop, assumption about how complicated to sell and implement PLM and many other aspects. Now I want to connect it to technology and innovation. We can create new technology, develop new software and create innovative business models. However, in order to make it efficient, we need to improve PLM "self-image". PLM is not about business transformation anymore. It is about how to help to business to solve their problems and what is most important, about how to help people to get their job done better.

What is my conclusion? PLM space is ready for innovation. The demand for new technologies, different user experience and new business model is high. However, before running full speed towards new goals, we need to fix ourselves first. I call it "plastic mind surgery". We need to think differently about PLM implementations. We need to develop a new "self image" for PLM as a lean business practice which includes information sharing and process optimization. In short, I call it lean PLM. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of [Salvatore Vuono] /

PLM and A Single Point Of Disagreement

June 25, 2010

When you talk to a sales person from one of the PLM companies, you for sure will be exposed to a “Single Point of Truth” vision. On the surface, you can see it as a very powerful message. What can be wrong with having a single point of truth on all design, requirements, engineering bills, manufacturing plans, support materials and customer calls? Sound a great opportunity finally to organize all you have related to your product development. However, is it really true?

View of the World from 9th Avenue

There is a legendary New Yorker magazine cover by Saul Steinberg called “View of the World from 9th Avenue.”It comprises a “map” of the world from a “New Yorker’s” point of view. Looking west from 9th Avenue in Manhattan is the Hudson River. Beyond that is  a flat view of the rest of United States. Then you see the Pacific, Japan, China and Russia. If you think about manufacturing and product development, you can find a very similar picture, depends on who is the person you are talking to. My conclusion is there is NO single point of truth. Everybody sees the problem or product data differently.

Single Point Of Truth Process

So, what happens when PLM implementation comes to the company? In the nutshell, every PLM implementation is trying to create a single point of truth for the organization. It means to go all the way from a data mess to the agreement about how to manage product data in the organization. The most typical process is when a company is taking PLM vendor’s blueprint of a data management schema and starting to customize it. This is a main reason why the process of PLM implementation is long and painful. You need to have different people in the organization to agree about data management principles. This is a very painful process. People in company departments have different goals and priorities. This is similar to New Yorker’s view from 9th avenue. There are multiple PLM methodology to deal with this called “Role-based views”, but technologically they based on the assumption to have a single model of everything.

The New Goal: Single Point Of Disagreement?

One of the possible ways to start doing PLM differently is to stop applying this painful “agree on a single model” process. People need to have a way to work in the world where their views are different, but their views can be synchronized and integrated. This is a not trivial task. It seems to me as a more appropriated way to solve this problem in comparison to what we have today. What need to be done is to find what are differences between people view on data in the organization. It can help to create an integrated product development data landscape.

What is my conclusion? To create an integrated and balanced way to manage product development is not a simple task. PLM is missing this point and assumed the actually data model integration will be created during PLM implementation and will be driven by customers. I can see it as a mistake that makes an implementation process lengthy and implementation costly. To resolve this problem will help to bring a desired simplification into PLM world. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


PLM Glue Technologies for organization – recipe #2 – Business Rules

December 14, 2008



I want to continue my first PLM Glue Technologies topic (#1 was about data). Sunday is good time to think about something big – such as Business Rules. Business Rules are often used to emphasize connection between organizational goals and operations. Since PLM in view expected 360 Degrees view on Product Lifecycle to have connection to organizational goals sounds very important.

 Area of Business Rules technologies created by something called BRMS (Business Rules Management Systems),  software allowed to define, deploy, execute, monitor and maintain wide set of business logic in organization. Over past few years significant consolidation on the market of business rules engines happened and several big enterprise software vendors  as well as platform providers acquired or developed Business Rules offering. Finally companies consolidated into BRMS platforms (or part of bigger Application platforms) and Rules Engines Toolkits – some of them open sources.

 I think usage of Business Rules Systems together with PLM systems can bring more openness and clarity in the way product data managed in context with  decision management. Such rules defined in external manner will allow to tailor PLM system behavior without too deep involvement into PLM implementation. But in order to do it PLM systems need to support level of openness for data to be used for rules. Possible areas to use BRE in PLM can be implementation of product compliance and regulation, Knowledge Based Engineering, product configuration and decision making.


 Any comments? Does anybody have experience in bridging Business Rules Engines and PLM? 


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