Any organization managing product introduction must have an underlying project plan determining how this is going to happen. Any design process goes through various stages from initial concept to final product. A generic process is illustrated below:
Now, this may be simple at a concept level, but can become incredibly complex at an execution level. Consider if you had a 500-person team working on a project and all of their activities needed to be coordinated. Even more crucial to the overall success is the management of deliverables – has every participant delivered his or her contribution to the project on time and to the required quality?
This is where an integrated PLM and project management system can be a powerful tool. In such a system, engineering and design deliverables are attached to tasks in a project plan, and the associated task can only be considered complete once this has occurred. If project management is executed using a standalone system, there is no link between task and deliverable; no way of knowing for certain if what is reflected in the project plan corresponds with reality.
So as a project manager, which would you prefer?
- A project plan that is disconnected from the required deliverables and may or may not reflect reality.
- An integrated system where the project plan is tied to engineering and design deliverables.
There are several consequences of such an integrated system:
- Project managers can immediately see if deliverables have been fulfilled. No requirement to verbally or formally query a project participant
- Milestone reviews can be conducted efficiently; either the milestone deliverable is in the system or it is not.
- Project managers are presented with real time status reports and dashboards. As a deliverable is attached to a task, the report is updated.
- There is no hiding the dates for completing a task. The timestamp of when a deliverable is completed is visible for all to see.
All of this allows for what the PLM world calls “automatic” or “invisible” project governance. Projects are self-governing, with all participants being aware of status in real time.
Wouldn’t you want this kind of system?