16 groups needing Product Lifecycle knowledge

16 groups needing Product Lifecycle knowledge

Lake Geneva, November 2020
  16 groups needing Product Lifecycle knowledge 

In a recent post, I asked the question, "Who should read about the Product Lifecycle?" Many thanks to all those who commented and otherwise replied. Apologies for not mentioning all their names here.   The following 16 groups of people who should read about the product lifecycle were identified. Starting with 11 groups in manufacturing companies. 

1. CEOs and CTOs  

The first group includes CEOs and CTOs of product companies who don't have a background in product development, manufacturing and support. It was suggested that an improved understanding of the product lifecycle would help them take better product-related decisions. However, it was pointed out that the need here seems to depend on business size, degree of interest, and work experience prior to being executive. This group is known to read several books each month. It was suggested they should add Products2019 to their reading list. 

2. CDO, CIOs and Digital Transformation Executives  

This is another group of executives, but these are specifically from the IS side of the business. They may know all about IT, but they also need to know about the product lifecycle so they can apply computerisation and digitalisation to their company's product-related activities in the most effective way.

3. Departmental Managers   

These folks are looking to improve product-related performance in their departments. However, to make significant progress, it's suggested they would benefit from knowing what's happening to the product outside their departmental walls, and from learning about product-related issues and potential improvement activities across the entire lifecycle.  

4. Product Managers  

It was suggested that people in this group need a detailed understanding of everything related to the product across the product lifecycle.

5. Product Developers 

People in this group would benefit from understanding how the lifecycle of their product will influence not only its design, but its market, plus the documentation and data that need to be managed to get that product effectively to market. They'll also benefit from learning about "Design for X" where X includes sustainability, sourcing, production, assembly, packaging, distribution, recycling, and brand protection. The latter is most often forgotten and covert. Overt and forensic features embedded into the design can be significant in IP protection. 

6. Product Lifecycle 

Management (PLM) deployers   This group includes PLM stakeholders such as senior and mid-level managers in Quality, Manufacturing, IT, and Engineering. PLM Managers, Architects, Administrators and Users are also seen as prime candidates for learning about the product lifecycle. As someone pointed out, if you're deploying PLM, you're on a product lifecycle journey (whether you know it or not).  

7. New Hires  

This group suffers when they join a company that doesn't provide basic product-related and New Product Development (NPD) training as part of the process of onboarding new employees. Instead, from Day 1, these employees are expected to be productive from the get-go and "make things happen". That's difficult when they don't have a good understanding of what's happening to the product in the Ideation, Definition, Realisation, Support of Use, and Retirement and Recycling phases of the lifecycle.

8. Employees 

involved day-to-day with products  Focused on being productive every day, this group is denied learning opportunities. In particular they should be given the opportunity to learn, at the School of Product Lifecycle Hard Knocks, from the experience of colleagues in other parts of the company.  

9. Members 

of Performance Improvement Teams  This group includes people in company programs such as Industry 4.0, Sustainable Products, Circular Economy and Digital Transformation. It was felt they would perform better in these programs if they knew about the roles, activities, documents, and applications used at different times across the product lifecycle. And knew about product-related issues and potential product-related improvement activities

10. Subject Matter Experts in New Technology Programs  

SMEs appear to be a subset of Group #9. Typically, they know their subject very well, but are not expert in other areas of the product lifecycle. It was felt they would benefit from having a good overview of activities across the product lifecycle.  

11. Steering 

Committee members for Improvement Programs   Again, this may be a subset of Group #9. Again, it was suggested these people would benefit from having a good understanding of activities across the product lifecycle.Whereas the groups listed above are of people in companies developing, manufacturing, and supporting products, the following groups are of people outside such companies.

12. Students  

Students on courses such as Product Development, Product Management, Engineering, Product Design and Innovation, Product and Industrial Design, Brand Management, Systems Engineering, and PLM should learn how a company's products start their life and what happens in a company throughout the rest of the product lifecycle. This would provide them a good framework for understanding in-depth courses in areas such as statics and dynamics, circuit design, stress analysis, technical drawing, Computer Aided Design (CAD), thermodynamics, simulation, recycling, etc. After graduating, students may work for a product company, so it's useful for them to know what happens with a company's products across their lifecycle, and to be aware of the product-related roles of executives, managers, SMEs, etc. 

13. Educators   

As it's important for students to know about the product lifecycle, it's also important that those who educate them, e.g., University Professors and Community college teachers, have a good understanding of the product lifecycle as seen by leading companies in 2020.    

14. Consultants  

Consultants working in the improvement of a company's product-related operations should know about product-related roles, activities, documents, and applications across the product lifecycle. That would help them add value.

15. Integrators  

Similarly, integrators working in a company's product-related operations should have good knowledge of product-related roles, activities, documents, and applications across the product lifecycle.  

16. Software Company Employees  

This group includes people working in different areas (e.g., sales, development, support, management) for software companies offering product-related applications such as Product Management, Product Portfolio Management (PPM), Product Data Management (PDM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Configuration Management (CM), PLM, and CAD. It was suggested that it's important for them to understand what happens with a manufacturing company's products across their lifecycle.
What's your feeling? Is it important for the above groups to know about the product lifecycle? Or can some of them be removed from the list? And are you aware of other groups that should be added to the list?  
Many thanks to all for their participation.

The Author: John Stark 
                                John Stark

In the field of PLM, a thought and practice leader, educator, and consultant to more than 100 companies. Author of 18 books including "Product Lifecycle Management: 21st Century Paradigm for Product Realisation", the most frequently cited publication about PLM. PLM consultancy assignments in many countries and industry sectors. 
Providing PLM consultancy in: PLM Vision; PLM Strategy; PLM project management; PLM status review; PLM process architecture; process mapping/definition;  PLM application architecture; review of applications; application selection; Organisational Change Management.  Specialties: author of several PLM industry White Papers; frequent speaker/Chairman at PLM industry conferences and events.

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