Friday Oct 23, 2009

Mandatory Project Content

Oracle Open World was exciting last week, and Agile PLM 9.3 was very well received. The keynote and other sessions were heavily attended. The PLM demo booth saw pretty good traffic! I was asked this question by a PPM customer at the PLM Demo Booth. "How do I make sure that a project deliverable does not get deleted by a user?" I explained to the customer that this can be done rather easily, and that has been an existing feature since 9.2.2. The customer's response was "That information right there was worth the cost of attending Openworld!" I thought I would write a quick blog post explaining how this can be done, to the broader audience. [Read More]

Monday Sep 28, 2009

9.3 Feature: Drag & Drop Content to a Project

Usability was greatly improved in the 9.3 release. This is evident in the Web 2.0 look and feel as well as more intuitive interaction with the user. This is a short post to illustrate usability improvement in one area of PPM. The use-case is that of adding new content to a project. Prior to 9.3, users had to search for content from the Content tab, and had to go through a couple of clicks to add that content. 9.3 retains that method and adds another (and in my opinion, cooler) method to add new content to the project. [Read More]

Thursday Sep 10, 2009

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. [Read More]

Thursday Aug 20, 2009

PPM Automation using Events

[Read More]

Wednesday Oct 22, 2008

Best Practice Series: PLM Information - Organize, Formalize and Learn

Project Management in any organization and context involves managing issues, risks and action items as well as maintaining and storing non-structured information arising out of discussions and meetings. Project Management in the context of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) focuses on Product Development Processes (PDP) and basically a creative yet rigorous process. The creative aspect of PDP projects results in a lot of non-structured information being created especially in the early design stages of a product. The rigorous aspect, on the other hand, dictates that you organize non-structured information in a form that is easily accessible and can be leveraged in the future. 'Learning from failure' is just as important as learning from success. This blog post talks about some of the best practices that you can incorporate into your existing PPM deployment to effectively organize your non-structured PLM information.[Read More]

Wednesday Oct 08, 2008

Did the data model fundamentally change in 9.2.2?

This was a question asked by a customer who is the process of upgrading to 9.2.2.4 from 9.2.1. Most of the customers are aware that there were a lot of functionality and usability improvements in 9.2.2 especially in the Product Portfolio Management (PPM) module. e.g. user feedback regarding consolidating all project related information on a single screen led to a single Content tab for the Programs base class that combines the Relationships, References, Attachments and Links functionality in earlier releases. But did this lead to a fundamental data model change that repurposed the use of fields such as name and number? What are implications for upgrade? [Read More]

Monday Sep 08, 2008

All about Deliverables when creating a Project from a Template

In this post, I'll talk about what happens to deliverables and attachments when creating a program from a template. Agile Product Portfolio Management (PPM) allows you to define a project tree along with supporting deliverables and attachments in a template format, so that projects can be rapidly created to mimic the template. Deliverables are defined as rows in the content tab that drive program execution via rules. Attachments are defined as rows in the content tab without any rules. From release 9.2.2 onwards, it is recommended that the attachment tab be disabled for the Programs base class, and the Content tab be used to store all attachments as well. The Content tab was designed in 9.2.2 as a combination of the old Relationships, References, Attachments & Links (and Approval Items on Gates) tabs.The Content tab should be the one place where all supporting information for the project is stored. The Content tab is especially suited for this purpose since it supports user-created Views, that allow flexible organization of such information. It has a preview pane to view relevant details of any selected row, so that users can perform common tasks from this screen itself. [Read More]

Sunday Sep 07, 2008

Align Project Selection with Company Objectives using KPIs

This question was brought up by a few customers on my recent trip to Asia. Customers want to know how to manage the phase-gate process in a more objective manner, so that the rationale behind keeping / killing or putting projects on hold is clearly documented. In the absence of objectivity, product development organizations tend to lose alignment between company strategy and project selection or prioritization. The more important loss however, could be "learning from failure", which is very important for innovation since innovation often involves unknown and unforeseen risks. Any prior experience from previous projects developing similar products is extremely important because it highlights what not to do and serves to mitigate risks to some extent. "This decision was taken upon review by senior management" just does not provide such important learnings. Learning from failure is important in order to achieve 'process maturity' (measured by such models as Capability Maturity Model or CMM). More on process maturity and excellence in later blog posts... Objectivity in project selection can be achieved by defining Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) at each gate. What KPIs should be used for various gates in a product development process (PDP) is an entire topic in itself and deserves a separate blog. KPIs will vary by the product development phase as well as by industry. E.g. KPIs for upstream phases such as Concept and Feasibility phases should focus on alignment with strategy, potential market size, technological risks etc. KPIs for later phases such as Prototype and Launch phases should focus on manufacturability, distribution models etc. Many business consulting services are available to help companies define their KPIs based on their current strategic direction. [Read More]
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