Company Politics Impact on PLM

In earlier blogs, I have discussed how scope creep can kill PLM projects.  This week, the topic is company politics.

Companies can implement PLM [product lifecycle management] software to: manage documents within a department, manage all company documents, manage product data [PDM], or to manage product information throughout its product lifecycle [PLM].  There can be degrees of each.

PLM is enterprise software.

If you are planning an implementation within a single department, the politics tends to be simpler.  Usually, you have a single department head.  They will need to persuade their underlings that this is good for them and the company.  They will assemble a user community to work through the implementation.  Of course, they will face the usual concerns:  people adverse to change, people afraid of losing control, people afraid that big brother will be watching them, and more.  They may face technology issues like: Linux vs. Windows; or hosting in the cloud or on site; or which relational database to use.

If you are planning a company wide implementation, the politics grows considerably.  Each department head wants to control their own data.  There is an old adage – the person with the data has the power. 

Each department head will want to have considerable input into the solution to the point of wanting to control it.  So, now the department heads must arrive at a solution that meets everyone’s needs.  And we still have the people in each department that need to be on board.

How does IT fit into the equation?  Are they planning to dictate the solution?

The solution architect must be able to navigate all of these relationships and issues to arrive at a solution that is ‘workable’.

It is extremely beneficial to have a ‘champion’ on enterprise projects.  The job of this ‘champion’ is to navigate the politics and persuade all parties to come together for the greater good.  They sell the project internally.  They are the pied piper of the project.

Your thoughts…

How have you dealt with your company’s internal politics?

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