WHAT’S NEXT?

Over the past seven days, we’ve learned the most important components of Product Lifecycle Management – from business processes, to product data and program management. We’ve discovered how PLM applications work and what ingredients a successful PLM initiative requires.

And now we come to our final lesson. But fret not! This one’s all about what to do next to continue learning and to master PLM.

I’ve collected some of the tips, advice and good reads that helped me to become better at my work. What follows is a walk-through of the steps I’d take if I was once again at the beginning of my career. It would have been great to have a list of relevant information and resources to guide me when we started.

With this 3 x 5 “To-Learn” Plan, you’ll strengthen the capabilities you need to master PLM – and most importantly, to feel comfortable working as PLM professional.

5 THINGS EVERY SUCCESFUL PLM EXPERT SHOULD LEARN:

Understand CAD modelling

CAD is widely used today to design and develop products. From 3D modelling to surface design and 2D representation, it’s all about CAD. But CAD software goes far beyond design to offer advanced simulation and analysis features that support virtual prototyping and manufacturing and production processes.

Building a solid foundation in 2D and 3D modelling and understanding the data structures and concepts behind CAD will make your life easier. Speaking the designers’ language is very beneficial when dealing with PLM implementations. It will also help you define information flows and integrations better.

I recommend the CAD learning paths from Lynda. They will provide you with an excellent foundation and are easy to follow online.

Learn to code

Programming will help you put yourself in the developer´s shoes. Understanding system development challenges can streamline your PLM implementation projects and help you. But it’s more than that – learning to code also enhances your problem-solving, logical thinking and organization skills.

Codecademy is a great starting point. Codecademy offers free courses in 12 different programming languages. Their courses are interactive, so you can learn while you practice online. First, you will want to figure out what language you want to focus on. There are plenty to choose from, and each has its own uses.  A good place to start if you’re interested in programming is Python. Once you understand the principles of one programming language, it becomes much easier to pick up new ones!

Explore SQL

Learn to communicate with databases using SQL, the standard data-management language. SQL is widely used today across web frameworks and PLM applications. Knowing SQL gives you the power to ask questions of your data and to make better decisions. Again, I also recommend codecademy SQL courses to get started.

Database principles

Databases provide an efficient way to store, retrieve and analyse data, and they are essential to every PLM implementation. Understanding the basics of relational databases is a must if you wish to design and implement PLM solutions effectively. If you want to know more about basic database principles, check out Simon Allardice´s Foundations of Programming: Databases, an online course in Lynda. It gives a good overview of how databases work and why we should care about them.

Project management

PLM Projects are complex, and you will need good methods to keep them under control. Defining project outcomes, establishing milestones and preparing a roadmap are some of the things you will need to learn to ensure your project execution is successful. Udemy and Coursera offer very insightful project management courses.

5 ESSENTIAL BOOKS ABOUT PLM 

Product Lifecycle Management, by John Stark

This book is a bible for every PLM professional. Volume 1 provides a holistic view of product development, support, use and disposal based on the author’s long experience. Volume 2 goes into detail, providing in-depth descriptions of the concepts introduced in Volume 1.

Product Information Management, by Abraham Jorij

Want to learn more about Product Information Management? Here’s the book you need. Abraham Jorij provides a solid information-management foundation, touching on concepts ranging from product classification to system implementation.

Information Management: Strategies for Gaining a Competitive Advantage with Data, by William McKnight

Boldly and concisely, William McKnight sketches a blueprint and action plan for a corporate information-management strategy. It’s a great overview of the new technologies that will drive your organization to digital.

The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries

This book started a revolution in product development and provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups. Applying lean testing and pivoting techniques to PLM development will help you bridge the gap between business and IT, and save money by not running into slow and expensive initiatives.

Getting things done:The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen

In a field where complexity, uncertainty and information overload are our daily bread, getting organized and prioritizing tasks is worth millions. These simple guidelines for getting things done will help you be effective and reduce stress.

5 MUST-READ BLOGS TO KEEP YOU IN THE KNOW

If you’re looking for inspiration and want to keep up to date with industry news, following these industry influencers on LinkedIn can give your career the edge it needs.

Virtual Dutchman

Every PLM pro has likely visited regularly Jos Voskuil’s virtualduchman.com, a blog that’s done a fine job of solidifying its position as a leading resource for PLM news and insights. With a dozen years of experience, Jos walks us through through the latest trends, shares best practices and provides tips from his practical background. His archive of posts is well-categorized and tagged, making it easy to find information about any specific topic.

Beyond PLM

This blog has been around since 2008, when Oleg Shilovitsky started writing it to help engineers find information about PLM software. Beyond PLM has developed into an established information source for PLM and related technologies.

PLMPartner

This the go-to site for anyone looking to know more about plant and building information management. With in-depth experience in the process and oil gas business, Bjorn Fidjeland is a leading industry-recognized PLM expert. His blog provides insights based on his wealth of experience in the field. He explains complex concepts in layman’s terms to bring PLM to a practical, actionable level.

CIMData

CIMData is a household name in PLM, and this blog is among the most well-known and respected in the space. Articles here are published by senior experts who discuss their specific topic of expertise, and the articles consistently offer in-depth technical analysis ranging from tips and tricks to detailed system implementation.

Engineering

This is another one of those must-haves for a list like this. Engineering helps you to stay tuned, get inspired and learn about the latest advances in technology for product innovation and manufacturing.

DO YOU WANT TO FAST-TRACK THE PROCESS AND SAVE YEARS OF TRIAL AND ERROR?

If you’ve enjoyed this course and want a guided plan, focus and a small community to fast-track your learning process, then check out our PLM Foundation program. It’s a 6-week program that builds on what we’ve learned in this online course and takes it all to the next level! We’ll learn the principles of product information management and dive deep into business process design. We look into plans for tackling the major problems of PLM implementations: getting organized with effective project management, understanding what it takes to plan a solid architecture, and using the right tips and tricks for a successful transformation.

As part of the program, you’ll become part of a community of PLM professionals who are always chatting and helping each other. You’ll have a focused place online where you can meet new peers and share your experiences, ask questions and be empowered to learn more.

If you’ve just gotten your feet wet in PLM and just can’t get enough of it, consider joining our PLM foundations program – and make a career out of it! This industry needs more smart, curious professionals like you.

Whatever you decide, remember to stay in touch! We’re developing our platform and would love to hear from you! If you have any further questions or suggestions, send us an email at hola@shareplm.com. We’d love to chat.