Posted on December 30th, 2012, 23:14
Wikipedia defines Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) as “the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from its conception, through design and manufacture, to service and disposal.” It is a systematic approach to manage the lifecycle of a product being produced in a fragmented and distributed environment by integrating people, data, processes and business systems. It brings together the different stakeholders involved in the development of a product to streamline their activities. The objective of PLM is to develop a product that has an edge over its competitors. Effective PLM helps in reducing the time to market, putting a higher quality product on the market, improving product quality and safety, increasing sales opportunities and reducing errors and waste.
PLM is highly essential in today’s competitive business environment as product development is carried out in a distributed environment. Though it is done to improve the product development process, the fact that the software product development is carried out in multiple geographic locations makes PLM a necessity to manage the distributed operations effectively. Here is a look at some of the challenges faced by the distributed teams:
· Team members not being on the same page with respect to work item priorities
· Lack of real-time collaboration
· Lack of visibility of the whole project, forming silos and general misalignment
These challenges become bottlenecks in Agile, where cohesiveness and a shared understanding within the team are imperative. Thus, PLM is a challenging strategy and therefore enterprises must invest in an effective product lifecycle management solution for successful implementation such as an integrated suite of industry-leading application lifecycle management tools and applications for distributed Agile development. These tools enable collaboration by utilizing reports and dashboards that provide real-time visibility throughout the development process. It provides end-to-end traceability between work items, starting from business requirements and extending all the way to final test execution results and release decision support. This visibility helps the distributed teams to identify bottlenecks early and thereby accelerate product development. The following are some of its benefits.
· Provides a complete traceability matrix and continuous integration framework
· Facilitates effective communication across distributed teams and provides complete transparency into project health
monitoring, risk management and progress tracking
· Enables product owners to align a product to real user needs and adapt the development process accordingly
· Runs QA and development cycles in parallel to reduce any lag between the two phases
· Significantly reduces code defects by enforcing excellent coding practices (e.g., writing adequate automated unit tests for every piece of code)
Thus with an effective PLM solution, enterprises can overcome the challenges of working across a distributed environment. This results in high-quality products while accelerating timelines and reducing development costs by up to 30%.