Epic failure. The source of all life. No human, dog, or software technology is immune to it; it is a great equalizer and also a great teacher. Sometimes failure is entirely unexpected, wrecking havoc on the best laid plans and contingencies. Other times you can clearly see failure, like Visigoths strolling over the seventh hill, fully three-fifths as angry as disaffected enterprise software users, determined to make the most unpleasant Wednesday in Rome ever. Whenever someone, somewhere tries to stand on a bicycle, vote for competent government representation, or implement monolithic enterprise software solutions, failure is waiting just around the corner ready to deliver a friendly nudge back to planet reality.
Managing the implementation of enterprise software is an often daunting, humbling, and formidable task. As I detailed in The PLM Trail, perhaps too much so, though it’s not limited to just Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). Managing the technology, the organizational change management, the politics, the angry dinosaurs, it’s enough to generate the same fear that would take the heart of me. The path forward is often obscure, replete with difficult decisions and imminent peril. And so it is that many appointed with such a task, lacking a functioning palantír or other assorted prophetic magical crap, resort to a much more practical tactic. Yes, the tried and true technique of when in doubt, ask your neighbor; otherwise known in business terms as customer references. Such interactions are sure to provide a wealth of so-called best practice, and while some of it might be a little perplexing, at least all the kids at school are doing it!
And now for something completely different for the holiday season. A tribute to a very old holiday joke that made the rounds around the Usenet newgroups back in the day, “A Southerner Moves North” and it’s variant “A Texan Moves North.” But this time, the story has been adapted into a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) adoption gone wrong.
Undoubtedly, Bill of Material (BOM) discussions are one of the more compelling topics in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). Just try to avoid it at the airport. Scott Pigman’s latest post at PLM Dojo, Why You Should (or Shouldn’t) use Multiple BOMs (see what I mean about the airport?) poses some intriguing questions regarding the future of BOM management in the enterprise. Specifically, with improved tool capability to separate and subsequently align part BOMs (aka Engineering BOMs or EBOMs) to maintain independence over troublesome CAD assemblies, are we headed to a future proliferation of BOMs throughout the enterprise or will that recurring single BOM dream (or nightmare) someday be realized?
In the past few weeks as I wandered Chile’s ruggedly stunning Patagonian wilderness, traversed seemingly infinite salt flats, and explored vast alpine plateaus of the Atacama desert, I admittedly wasn’t thinking much about engineering or enterprise software. Well, except for my brief and distant glimpse of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) observatory – which unfortunately was not admitting wandering visitors. Aside from that one distraction, I was in another world. This fact no doubt magnified my puzzlement as my wife challenged me to relate something in our Chile expedition to engineering and enterprise software. And the answer would be realized in the same context for which many great answers throughout history have come forth into the world: lunch.