A user friendly PLM configuration should follow work culture

21/12/2012 13:30

A user friendly system takes the different cultural habits in the organization into account. Here are examples demonstrating the cultural influence. 

Engineers organize their work using issue lists. In an environment of fast changing input they are used to modify too restrictive procedures to come to an optimal reaction to changes of requirements.

Basically they assume that they know what is going on in their 'shop' and what to do. They organize themselves in their team. If something is not done or exceptionally has to be done, then an issue is generated and the team leader relates a responsible to it. Engineer's work motivation is very much connected to a feeling of autonomy inside their own work field.

Engineers execute tasks as soon as required in a sequence, which is directed by changing inputs. Following a restictive predefined procedure representing a task list does not fit to the perceived work flow. 

In departments of administrative nature employees follow check lists with tasks based on predefined procedures. The environment is not changing while executing the procedure. If all the tasks are executed properly, work is done. By definition there are no exceptions. The procedure is the result of a best practice in the department.

As a consequence pure engineering tasks should be available in the PLM system as stand alone tasks. Using reports a project team leader should get an overview about the status of the documentation of the project he/she is responsible for. Pure administrative tasks should be organized in automated work flows reflecting a procedure.

A salesman should or want to be as much as possible at the customer site to make business. You can punish them with a task for manually documenting customer specs. A system is friendly to them, if there is a feature supporting them to document the customer specs more or less automatically. If this is not possible, then they need somebody who is documenting the customer specs for them.