Tuesday, November 6, 2012

5 Reasons Your PLM Team Sucks!

Have you tried PLM before? Have you tried it and failed more than once? Is your current PLM implementation just limping along with one broken leg, an arm in a sling, and your tongue hanging out? If this is the case, it might be because your PLM team sucks!

Here are 5 reasons why this might be the case:

1) You don't have a PLM team: If you read this blog and said to yourself, "...what PLM team?", then you have a big problem. If you want to implement PLM successfully, you MUST have a PLM team. The PLM team is in charge of making sure your preparation for PLM, your PLM solutions selection, your PLM implementation planning, and implementation roll-out occur as required for your business. If you don't have a PLM team, this will never happen; and, since PLM never ends, the team should always be busy on the next project to support PLM.

2) Your PLM team has no leader: Every good team needs a good leader. The army has a general, a football team has a quarterback, and every country has a President, an emperor, a Queen, or someone to lead. If you have a poor PLM team leader, a part-time guy where PLM is not his main job, or no leader at all, you will struggle with PLM.

3) Your PLM team has no direction: If your PLM team does not know what to do, or if they are going in 5 directions at once, they will be ineffective. If the PLM team is not educated about PLM, and they each have their own view of what PLM can do for your business, it will be hard to make progress. The team must have a clear plan and a desire to eliminate scope creep, and other drifts, that can take your PLM initiative off course.

4) Your PLM team does not communicate well: One of the keys to making PLM successful is communication. If you don't have emails, web presence, tweets, blogs, user groups, newsletters, and other vehicles for communicating your PLM activities, no one will care about PLM. The cultural change that is required for PLM cannot happen without a lot of positive communication. Cultural change is often the main reason that PLM initiatives fail.

5) Your PLM team lacks executive support: Getting support from top executives for PLM is essential if you want to make PLM more than just a localized initiative. PLM, by its very nature, is an enterprise effort that requires the input and work of many people in your organization. If your team does not have a good executive sponsor on the team, it will be hard to get the kind of focus you need from the rest of your organization.

So, how well is your PLM team performing? Do they need some education? Almost all PLM teams, and extended teams could benefit from some PLM education.

What do you think?




  1. I think you are right :)

    PLM is too often considered as a technical / IT-solution.

    Perhaps because these companies consider a PLM project the same as the type op projects they do do with their customers.

    For sure the coaching and learning during (and before) a PLM project is underestimated

  2. How about "what's in it for them?" One of the primary sources of failure in complex IT and indeed PLM implementations are humans and their personalities. Just a thought?

  3. Dutchman,
    I can see that. I'm from the other side of the fence, so I still see PLM/PDM as a permeating foundation of organizaton for all my goodies.
    Isn't that the same in any field? people without honor or backbone.... (oops, other discussion).
    PLM isn't any different than engineering, in that everyone needs to know where they are going, what is needed, and how best to achieve the goal. Leadership and a team.
    John Evans

    1. I appreciate all your comments.

      I think this speaks to the need for PLM education across the board BEFORE they ever start a PLM initiative. That way, you can education the PLM team and others on what benefits they can expect from PLM.

      Then, you must keep communicating throughout the activity to make sure people are getting what they expected, and that they know about the next cool think that PLM will provide.

      It's a lot of work, but if done properly, people can feel good about getting what they expected from PLM.

      Most businesses short-arm the throw, and never get it across the plate.



  4. I think, 5 reasons you stated can be applied to many other technological and enterprise software focused tasks. The core problem is a change you need to do in the people people doing their job and in the way company (organization) is performing. The change is a problem. PLM, as a software, and business initiative imply this change. That's why it is hard. Just my thoughts... Oleg

  5. Oleg,

    I agree with you. The same methodology and team could be applied to any software or technology activity. The difference between PLM and many other software selection/implementation activities is that PLM is a strategic enterprise initiative that required participation from many organizations; it's not just software.

    Getting all the right people on board to make sure it is successful is much harder, takes longer, is more expensive, and is often skipped or misunderstood by many in traditional IT organizations. For some reason, with ERP they appear to understand this better than with PLM.