An inspirational video from CEO Peter Schroer of ARAS , a manufacturer of Product Lifecycle Management Software (PLM). Schroer advocates the use of an “agile” approach to factory digital transformation, the same as that used in software development. Strategically it is a mistake to draw up a large complex project, since during the execution of the project many things will change , invalidating many of our original plans:
- Business objectives change
- Changes in the business environment (economic down/up turn),
- Changes in company ownership(mergers / aquisitions)
- Changes in customer requirements
- Changes in legal requirements to be met
- New technology appears
If we limit ourselves to the implementation of simple, achieveable tasks which have a direct and immediate impact on the business, which are achievable over a number of “sprints” (where a sprint is managed in weeks not months) then we have far greater probability of success.
That doesn’t mean that we have no longer term vision or road map of where we are going in the long term, rather it means that we do not devote a large amount of resource to detailed planning or execution of the long term, or paralysis by analyisis.
This approach has important consequences:
We must accept that a single software system or platform is not going to be able to continually adapt to our changing business requirements. This means that communication between systems and the use of open source software is an essential part of the strategy to avoid lock in to a single system.
Large upfront license payments are rarely compatible with this philosophy for the same reason. Software as a service which enables us to pay as a funcion of number of users or volume of transactions is much more compatible with this approach.
We must be prepared to test, put a foot in the water, test, then build on what works, and abandon what fails. As Schroer says, “Do something we know, make it work, then go onto the next thing”.
You will find the video on agile plm implementation here.