Ingredients for a Successful PLM Journey

I have worked on many PLM implementations over the years.  The most successful ones had these things in common:

A Vision for their solution – They had an idea of what their solution might look like and they attempted to come up with a solution that came close to that vision.

A Champion – Think of the Champion like a ‘pied piper’.  They will lead management and the user community through the complexity of a PLM implementation.

Company Politics – The Champion and the Project manager will need to negotiate the company’s political environment.  They will need to gain buy-in from the user community as well as the executives.

PLM Requirements – You have a problem to solve.  Gather the ingredients needed to solve that problem.  Work from your requirements document – the better it is, the easier the implementation.

Develop a Project Plan – Find a strong project manager.  Have him work through the requirements to create a detailed project plan [plan the work and work the plan]. Avoid scope creep as much as possible.  It is difficult to work to a moving target – it lengthens the project and increases the cost.

Recruit an active user group – It is important to get your user community involved.  You need their input – You want them to do the testing – You want them to use the software.  They need to feel some ownership in the project.  Be sure to involve any negative people early in the project to get them on board.

Manage culture change – Many people hate change.  The user community will be learning new software and possibly changing how they do their work.  They need to be able to see how this is better for them and the company.  Your Champion should lead this effort.

Manage expectations – This is really about communications.  Communicate project information early and often.  If you catch a problem early, it won’t be as big as it will if you catch it a few weeks later.

Good luck with your PLM implementation – it is well worth it in the long haul.  Interested in learning more, drop me a note…

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