Many of us working with PLM have an engineering background and might have a tendency to focus on technology and processes as the major building blocks to achieve success in our customers’ PLM projects. These two aspects are essential in terms of ensuring that we and the customer have a strong understanding of the as-is and to-be of the business processes and the need to base the PLM system on a strong and flexible industry leading platform. We have therefore chosen to work with Dassault Systèmes and their industry-leading innovative 3DEXPERIENCE platform.
Over the years I’ve come to realize that the success of a PLM project is tightly related to how you work as a true integrated team, use modern development methods and the way you involve business owners and end-users. Let me elaborate on these areas and how we at TECHNIA constantly improve our PLM deliveries in close co-operation with our customers.
1. The Team
A team with the right mix of skills is a prerequisite for success. Business process knowledge, software architecture and development, testing, IT-infrastructure and integration and end-user roll out/training are some examples of the skills needed. Having the core of the team co-located and close to the customer is another key success factor, in particular for the initial phase of the project to create strong relations and understanding. Empowerment of the team and the ability to make fast decisions are other important success factors. Having a “one team” spirit regardless of being on the supplier or customer side is also key as well as passion and entrepreneurship are vital to overcome hurdles and constantly improve the spirit and way of working. Finally, celebrating success and following up on the actual business benefits realized are also mandatory to keep the motivation high for the PLM program at large.
2. Methods & Tools
Agile methods have been a major theme in software development for the past 10 years and while this is not a “silver bullet for success”, there are many strong concepts in this approach. One of them being the incremental way of delivering the functionality to business people and end-users, allowing them to more in detail understand and gradually fine tune the system to more precisely meet the needs. Instead of one major phase we typically divide this into 4-5 smaller projects referred to as “sprints”. This reduces complexity and allows to find design or specification errors much earlier.
Modern collaboration tools for managing the specifications, source code, testing and documentation are also key enablers to integrate the entire team with the customer and improve the productivity. In the tools you have the opportunity to constantly measure the quality and productivity – what’s not measured will not be improved. Moving from documents to data is a key customer benefit of PLM and the same applies for the PLM system implementation and the applications management and maintenance activities coming after the successful deployment. Having one collaborative repository to manage the PLM program is as we see it a key enabler for productivity, speed and quality.
3. Examples & Validation
Do we at TECHNIA have good examples to validate my statements? You can learn more about how we in a close partnership with TUIfly Nordic implemented PLM system and processes that improve the travel experience for their customers. This is a strong story about collaboration, team spirit and use of Agile methods to provide a new way for TUI to serve their customers.
As always, do not hesitate to contact me or the management team to give us feedback or suggestions for how TECHNIA can improve the way we operate and serve our customers.
All the best,