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Professional PLM - Roles and Grades

 

If your boss tells you: "You are now our PLM Manager", how do you know what you are supposed to do? How does your boss know what you should do?

   

There should be an agreed and comprehensive syllabus for a new PLM Manager to follow.

In fact, when the issue is looked at in more detail, it is clear that there should be several different syllabuses, for different types of PLM practitioner.

 

This is the first overview of what the various roles might be.

 
   

 

PLM Manager

The PLM Manager in a user company or organisation is the core management role in the PLM industry. Closest to the "coal face", responsible for progress and achievement, but not always empowered.

In large corporations there will be a PLM Team that works as a functional entity and which may contain various grades and specialisms.  In PLM Syllabus terms we will assume that everyone within the PLM Team works through the same career path.

This leads to five potential stages, or grades, of progression:-

  • Foundation Level
  • PLM Manager
  • Advanced PLM Manager / Leader
  • PLM Director / VP
  • Industry Fellow

The structure and content of these grades is explained in How the Roles Map.

 
   

 

PLM Supervisor

The PLM Supervisor role is distinguished not by the seniority of the person within the organisation, but by the fact that the Supervisor does not do the hands-on management of PLM.

He or she has line management responsibility for the person who does.

The PLM Supervisor must be able to offer guidance and instruction to the PLM Manager (and, by extension, the whole PLM Team), while maintaining the higher-level business viewpoint that is sometimes referred to as "helicopter vision".  The Supervisor must also hold the PLM Manager to account for progress and deliverables.

This makes the PLM Supervisor role much more complex than supervision in many other disciplines, and the Syllabus needs to reflect this.

 
   

 

Vendor Practitioner

The role of Vendor Practitioners is important, and highly specialised.  Every large PLM implementation is likely to include staffing from the Vendor's pool of specialists, or from associated Value Added Resellers.

Vendor staff may have relatively wide experience (by working on a range of customer implementations), but within the restrictions of the vendor's proprietary market position and software capabilities.

Furthermore, the training of Vendor Practitioners is proprietary.  Not only is it based on the Vendor's particular solution offerings, but its content and scope is part of the Vendor's competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Defining a Syllabus for Vendor Practitioners, of any potential grade or seniority, is unlikely to be supported by those it is created for.  Instead, it may be more effective to measure the training outcomes by Certification according to formal, widely-agreed criteria.

 
   

 

Integrator / Consultant Practitioner

Systems integrators and consultancies fulfil a similar role to each other in PLM, providing skilled staff, an independent position, and the ability to produce the right answer.  User companies are often heavily reliant on them to deliver the eventual PLM solution.

Their staff may have relatively wide experience based on the assignments they have worked on, and they too are constrained by a proprietary viewpoint - in this case, the particular analysis techniques and methodologies used by their employers.

As with Vendors, the training of Integrator or Consultant Practitioners is proprietary, and part of their competitive market position.  Perhaps more than with Vendors, the quality and detail of this training is highly important to the User companies who are their clients, due to the assumed "mantle of competence" that is part of the image.

Defining a Syllabus for Integrator / Consultant Practitioners, of any potential grade or seniority, is unlikely to be supported by those it is created for.  Instead, it may be more effective to measure the training outcomes by Certification according to formal, widely-agreed criteria.

 
 

Professional PLM - Navigation
 

 

Comparing the Roles

The outline above is just an Overview, as a first draft for discussion.  It will be debated and modified as the Initiative progresses.

Nevertheless, the logic appears to be a sensible starting point, and it can be extended to consider how the various grades and roles would map onto each other.  This mapping provides a more graphical picture of a potential professional structure, and raises some further issues to be considered.

See the mapping >>>



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