Management of Complexity

Following the PLM definition PLM is integrating people, processes, business systems, and information.

There are a lot of publications about business systems, because PLM tool vendors are offering their PLM systems. Bloggers discuss about PLM tool trends and consultants deliberate about whether a tool is more suitable for a specific situation or not.

In conferences PLM project managers present their success stories about PLM deployments for a specific business process based on a specific PLM deployment history in that organization.

Consultants offer their services publishing advices, which should show that they are familiar with the topic and capable to guide an organization into a new practice using PLM.

We need a PLM culture focussing to the integration of the people aspect, because people are requested to change. They have to execute their tasks in the new practice. If the new practice allows development of their potentials, then a PLM deployment results in increased company's profit.

PLM Culture states a series of objectives that focus to the integration of people axis claiming collaboration/cooperation, integrated procedure setup, tools adapted to a proper executing of procedures, and information management taking human aspects of data handling and privacy into account.

Collaboration (People)

Collaboration must assume the integrity of information received (clear, concise, and valid) and also that the contributor takes responsibility for the information delivered knowing, that his/her output is input for other members of the organization.

Collaboration requires compliance with behavioral standards and limits. These behaviors and limits must be subject to an open process of continuous improvement having the goal of improving the collaboration. Ultimately, however, the process owner has the last word, in regards to standards, as he/she is responsible for the outcome.

Cooperation requires open communication and openness about rules, shared decision making, and need-based fairness.

Cooperation goes across the extended enterprise with the target of working together as a system.


Procedures (Processes)

Procedures describe how the end2end business process, consisting of an overall plan having tasks and milestones, is executed defining clearly what has to be delivered when, by whom and with which tools.

Procedures are the result of a negotiation process of a cross-functional team. Each team member must have a deep understanding of their department's requirements and objectives and the touch points (interaction) with other departments. There is a defined transformation from the current practice to the new practice.

Procedures guarantee the consistence, precision and validity of information organized in data structures controlling the information change over time transparent for the information users (people).

Tools (Business Systems)

The application landscape is the result of an IT strategy derived from business processes and functions. The target environment is a consistent set of tools aligned with industry benchmarks, standards and processes.

Tool choices by members and business units (Shadow IT) are understood as identifications of weak-spots/links in the current system environment demanding for a solution.

Tools fulfill the demand of user friendliness, which is expressed in easy to learn and easy to use features and the delivery of a stable, performant and bug free system.


Information is structured along the items the organization manages (e.g. product, customer, supplier) organized in frames (e.g. a customer requests a product, a supplier delivers a product) allowing navigation close to real world relations.

Information is linked to procedure status information (step, role, time of interaction) allowing optimization of procedures based on key figures, but preventing spying.

Management of complexity through cooperation