9.3 Feature: PLM Reference

In 9.3, we introduced a new attribute for the Project base-class called 'PLM Reference'. This blog post explains why we did this, and highlights some best practices on how to use this field. Before we go into details about why we introduced this field, let me talk about what the attribute is. The 'PLM Reference' attribute is a multi-list type attribute and can contain one or more objects in Agile PLM. You will notice that populating this field involves searching for Agile PLM objects. You will also notice that this field can only be filled in at the root project level, and automatically rolls down through the entire project structure.
The 'PLM Reference' field is meant to denote the main purpose of the project, as opposed to the Content tab that typically contains the deliverables or work performed during the course of the project. For example, the Top Level Assembly of the BOM of the product being developed via a project may be listed in the PLM Reference field, whereas the Business Plan, MRDs, Change Orders that represent the work to be done can be put on the Content tab (with or without rules as appropriate).

Another potential use of the PLM Reference field could be to represent the concept of Programs and Portfolios. By referencing the same Program on a number of Projects, you could model multiple projects as belonging to the same program. Here, the program or portfolio is just a blank container with root status. You may create Program and Portfolio subclasses for clarity. The notion of program dates driving project deadlines can be achieved in a manual manner by first generating a report that will highlight activities that fall beyond the program end dates. Program Managers can then evaluate each of these activities on an individual basis and decide on the course of action - either bring the schedule in to meet the deadline set by the program, or move the project out of the program.

Rolling up costs at the portfolio level is also easily accomplished by establishing an event on any update of an object of Program (for upgraded system) or Project baseclass (for a brand new 9.3 install), and triggering a script to update the cost fields on the Portfolio object found in the PLM Reference field. The cost rollup is nothing more than adding together the costs for all the projects that 'belong' to the same portfolio i.e. having the same portfolio referenced in their 'PLM Reference' field.

These are just some of the potential uses for this newly introduced attribute. Let me know if you find any more interesting uses for the 'PLM Reference' attribute.

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