(Eng) “Process leads, Tools must enable”

Posted on January 17, 2012

process_tools_whiteThis is a line I just read again in one of the first books I’ve work with to learn about PLM. This book is the one about CMII called “CMII for Business Process Infrastructure” by Vincent C. Guess. First of all, what I like about the group managing CMII is their interest in process and their apparant independance from softwares. I’m not saying that to explain that they must be cool. I’m saying that because I think, and I wrote that in that blog many times, Process and Tools should be studied, acquired and managed separately. The process is the smart things you need to think about in order to make your business more efficient while someone else needs to make sure that he will provide you with the good tools in order to run the process you defined.

The business reality

Well, issue is, I’ve almost never seen this setup with independance and transparencies between roles in this three-roles’ group gathering: the customer, the process specialist and the technology editor. Why that? First thing is, there are very few independent consulting companies in PLM. And for those who will say that we’re no better, that’s true. But I consider myself more as a provider of a PLM-enabling technology with at the same time an industrial background as a former Process Engineer. So back to the “business reality” I was mentioning, yes it is difficult to find consultants without having them already selling you the tool. And we have seen PLM integrator trying to promote more than one system in order to expand their market and it usually had some impact on the lead distribution from the editor!

Different roles, different presentations, shared decisions

This is a key point in the buying process of a PLM strategy including process optimization and enabling-tools deployment. Roles have to be clearly defined on wether people can decide about process optimizer quality/performance or if they can decide on the technology side. And I’ve seen all the situation in meetings: Some people will want to see a big show about how easy it will be to create and produce a super system with CAD, CAM, … talking to each other like in a fantastic tower of babel. Some will focus on the technical benefit, they want to see the use of standards like XML, webservices, STEP,… So sometimes I was meeting one person of a kind or even both at the same time but the issue was, I was never able to have two speeches. And as I think that a PLM strategy should more drive to a buying process from the users than a selling process from the PLM solution provider, here’s what I think would be the best: Make sure to separate meetings and presentations between Process enhancers and technology suppliers. Ask Process people to make sure they only talk about process and ask technology providers to show their software. And do it for each provider. It’s a lot easier to show functional miracles on PowerPoint than it is to show a software that works well and live!

Yoann Maingon

Yoann Maingon

Yoann Maingon is an Entrepreneur and a PLM enthousiast. He is our main blogger at Minerva as he has been publishing articles about General PLM concepts and Aras Innovator for more than three years.

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(Eng) Standards for Process/Workflow management

Posted on January 9, 2012

StandardWorkflowPart of my continuous improvement process in this enterprise product lifecycle environment is to keep an eye on standards. When I started to work in PLM, mainly with Aras Innovator the first few discussions I had about standards were with Professor Pascal Morenton from Ecole Centrale de Paris. We were mainly discussing about how Aras Innovator was able to work with a datamodel which would comply with the AP214 standard regarding the Product – Part – Document section of the data-model. More recenlty I talked about some other standards in this blog like the whole collection of xml standards managed by OASIS. That was at a time I was focusing on standards to describe invoices. And as workflows and lifecycles are some of the main features of a PLM system, I was wondering if there were some standard defined. As some of you may know, I mainly focused on XML so we’ll explore standards with this description format.

Some Standard to handle Process/Workflows

I recently made some search on potential standards about workflows and lifecycles and I stumbled upon this document from 2002. As the document is almost 10 years old, I wondered if anyone have had a use out of it. So I used my tiny Twitter network with no success.

tweet_workflow_standard

I wonder if any of the existing BPM solution or PLM solutions, is using a standard or at least a common way to describe and manage a workflow.

So, the first thing to watch is the data-model. And this document presents what is the data model of a Workflow Process Definition and also the data-model of a Workflow package containing processes, participants,…

Standard datamodel workflow

Workflow_packages

I won’t go too much into details to talk about this models. The idea is just to show that there are some open structured definitions of a workflow which my have to be improved as the document hasen’t changed for years. Once the definition of the whole workflow model is set up, they show how they implement it with a real life example. Following is a simple order process:

eorder_sample

If then, you read the document, you’ll see that accordingly to the workflow datamodel defintion, they define the order workflow example with an XSD schema. And this is an important element to me as XML is just everywhere on the web. And from xsd schema you can easily create robust User Interfaces which will comply to the defined model.

XSDresultat

So, this definition exists… are there others? I don’t know and I would welcome any reference or any suggestion of such information. While functionnal consultants will work on standard process like CMII workflows for change management, we need to provide some standard basis to help the interoperability of systems and the understanding of how the system they are using works.

The Aras Innovator way

Being an active professionnal member of the Aras Community, I’ve tried to check if Aras was close to the same way of managing the workflow information. In order to do so, I’ve used our tool Aras2UML and I extracted the objects which were included in the process definition.

workflowmap_definition

Some of the information we see here is close to the previous definition but there are differences that let us understand that it was not based on a standard. This is the only software I can really dive into to check that, but i’m pretty sure they all have different data-models.

A huge benefit for migrations

Migrating workflows never is an easy task and you always come up with an important loss of information from your legacy system. This is mainly because mapping these different data-models is most of the time very complicated. This is a dynamic part of the PLM mixing workflow definitions and their instanciation through workflow maps. If you have different ways of managing workflows, most of the time you’ll state that most of the instanciated workflows that are not finished will not be migrated.

Conclusion

It took me a while to write this article (holidays haven’t helped) and during this time, Oleg Shilovitsky made another article about Process simplification and the importance of Business Process management. This is an important topic to cover as I’ve seen during presentations that editing a workflow in front of a prospect is really one of the keypoint where he can see the software helping him on a daily basis for all his regular processes. My thought about that, and it’s just about working on a different level, we need to push editors to use standards or at least clear data-models before building new UIs and new features. I’m not sure yet about what would be the selling point for the editor by mentioning that he follows a certain standard but there must be some. I definitely miss a lot of information and experience for this article and I’m sure I’ll get back to this topic later.  In the mean time, feel free to chat with me about it.

Yoann Maingon

Yoann Maingon

Yoann Maingon is an Entrepreneur and a PLM enthousiast. He is our main blogger at Minerva as he has been publishing articles about General PLM concepts and Aras Innovator for more than three years.

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(Fr) Express ECO pour découvrir la gestion des modifications

Posted on October 4, 2011

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ICM & CMII – un modèle de méthodo pour le PLM?

Posted on July 29, 2010

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PLM = BPM + ECM + PM + CMII + … (if standards == true)

Posted on June 28, 2010

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Modèle de données CMII – Aras Innovator (3/3) – a

Posted on April 26, 2010

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Modèle de données CMII – Aras Innovator (1/3)

Posted on April 12, 2010

Aras a récemment mis sur la section projet du site www.aras.com, un nouveau modèle de données dédié à la gestion des modifications selon le modèle CMII. Dans ce cadre, nous réalisons donc 3 vidéos pour présenter:

  • le modèle CMII & l’approche du modèle de données CMII d’Aras Innovator
  • la gestion d’une revue de documentation et la révision d’éléments d’une nomenclature
  • la gestion du remplacement d’un élément d’une nomenclature

Pour plus d’informations sur le CMII n’hésitez pas à visiter les liens suivants:

Pour toute question technique sur la mise en route d’Aras Innovator ou pour l’installation du modèle de données présenté dans cette vidéo, laissez un message sur notre forum:

www.prodeos.com/Forum

Yoann Maingon

Yoann Maingon is an Entrepreneur and a PLM enthousiast. He is our main blogger at Minerva as he has been publishing articles about General PLM concepts and Aras Innovator for more than three years.

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Principes CMII

Posted on January 6, 2010

Pour toutes les personnes interessées par CMII, une bonne introduction peux-etre la lecture de l’ouvrage “CMII for Business Process Infrastructure” de Vincent C. Guess.

Voila les principes CMII qu’il y énumère, extrait:

  • Le produit du bureau d’étude est la documentation
  • Le but du prototype est de valider la documentation
  • Les requis sont maitres, les produit doivent s’y conformer
  • Les processus sont maitres, les outils facilitent (suivent)
  • Lorsque les outils prennent la maitrise, les erreurs suivent (de Steve Easterbrook)
  • Les actions correctives continues ne sont pas l’amélioration continue
  • Ceux qui travaillent en mode correctif perdent 40% de leurs ressources sur intervention.

et le dernier en VO:

Option 1: Follow the crowd; send all work offshore and delay your demise. Or 2:  get Lean and Mean.

To get Lean is to eliminate the need for intervention ressources.

To get Mean is to ramp up the rate of real improvements. CMII is Lean and Mean at its best.

Lien pour se fournir l’ouvrage: http://www.icmhq.com/configuration-management-cmii-book.html

Yoann Maingon

Yoann Maingon is an Entrepreneur and a PLM enthousiast. He is our main blogger at Minerva as he has been publishing articles about General PLM concepts and Aras Innovator for more than three years.

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Mise à Jour du site internet Prodeos.com

Posted on November 5, 2009

Nous avons réalisé une mise à jour de notre site internet www.prodeos.com avec pour principales modifications:

  • Présentation du programme QuickStart
  • Découpage de la rubrique PLM en 3 sous rubriques (Solution Aras Innovator, Gestion de configuration CMII, Open Source)

Si vous utilisez Google Chrome comme navigateur, il se peut que vous ayez à vider votre cache pour assurer une bonne lisibilité du site.

Yoann Maingon

Yoann Maingon is an Entrepreneur and a PLM enthousiast. He is our main blogger at Minerva as he has been publishing articles about General PLM concepts and Aras Innovator for more than three years.

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