Craig Senior - 'Insight' Reviews
David Douglas Lyon
TRANSPARENT CM – How to Get There
Raven Publishing, Pittsfield, 2003
Implementing a product data management (PDM) system is a foray into complexity for which most organisations and people are unprepared. Throwing the latest feature-rich technical fad at old business problems with glassy-eyed, optimistic zeal, later blaming any failure on “circumstances beyond our control”, and moving laterally into the next project assignment is slowly losing its appeal. Even information technology practitioners are catching on to the woes of their ways, but you’d be hard pressed to get one to admit it.
Transparent CM delivers some great lessons, of which these are but a few:
1) There is a DNA-like, intertwined relationship between quality and configuration management (CM).
2) The shortest route to implement a complex system is to do it right the first time. The only short cut is to take no short cuts.
3) Automating CM and making it more transparent is becoming a competitive advantage like 'supply chain management' and 'just in time'.
4) Aim to make the process steps transparent and efficient for users; they do the right things right using the fastest, easiest method and might not know it.
Transparent CM is the essential guide to implementing a PDM system. It presents a practical process, a methodology for implementation, supplemented by checklists and templates. It sets the reader’s foundation with the common, traditional definitions of configuration management (CM). It takes us on a brief, often entertaining stroll through the history of CM. Then it asks you to ask yourself what you really need to do with this thing. What are your requirements for a PDM system? What information must you capture, manage, and use? Who authorizes product changes and how are those changes documented, communicated, and controlled? Much of this data is required regardless of whether you use a PDM system or what PDM system you choose.
After that you are guided through PDM-specific functions to analyze the degree to which the PDM system satisfies your requirements, off-the shelf. It guides you through PDM system evaluation, using extensive checklists that you can readily apply. Finally, it brings you through implementation and integration with other subsystems. Obviously, the book could not consider all the technical issues of every reader, but the principals are firmly in place. Very useful was the PDM Project Schedule that you could transcribe as the basis for your schedule.
Transparent CM presents guidance for overcoming resistance to PDM and CM in general. It presents CM best practices geared towards Dept of Defence contracting, but you can easily read through this and apply the material to any organization.
Transparent CM is the essential guide for anyone considering a PDM implementation, any CM practitioner, quality practitioner, or anyone involved in managing design and manufacture. David Lyon clearly demonstrates that he’s been there and he’s packed a lifetime of experience into this very important book.