This is the last part of my Project Management with Enterprise PDM blog post. We introduced the concepts of Project Management with EPDM in the first post. That post also had link to a YouTube video demonstrating how Enterprise PDM could be used for Project Managment. The last post covered a very simple approach to Project Management with EPDM. So here we are now covering the more in-depth approach of using EPDM for stage-gate (or phase-gate) project management (more details on Stage Gate project management).
I decided to put this stage-gate configuration together based on some customer requests. It provides ability to manage all the phases of a project (not just manufacturing), to require sign-offs on stages before being allowed to progress, and to lock down data in stages that are complete. So its focus is really on project data security and based on the state of a project and providing a workflow to control the state of the project. This is in addition to all the other benefits discussed in part 2 of this blog series.
Just like in the last post, I can’t go into every detail of this configuration. It would take too much time to write and every customer would probably want their own variation on this. So here are some key ingredients to make this work:
- A project summary sheet document (used xml file type for some its unique benefits in EPDM) that has its own set of workflows to control the flow of the project. This project summary sheet cannot transition from one major stage to another until all of its signoffs for that stage are complete. I used basic EPDM workflow functionality to make this work. Nothing special here.
- An API script that renames the main project folder to include the destination stage of the project when the project progresses to the next stage.
- A dispatch script that updates the projects folder card variable holding the project state when the project changes to the next state (triggered by the state transition in the project summary sheet’s workflow).
- Another dispatch script to prevent the ability to change the state of lifecycle controlled data within the folder of a completed stage (so released data can’t be moved back into WIP for editing).
Let’s summarize the above list: Item 1 on the list above is the user interface to control the flow of the project. Items 2 and 3 do behind the scenes work to update the project stage on the project folder name and folder cards. Item 4 checks the attempt to change lifecycled data. If the data is in a folder that’s stage is lower than the current stage of the project (identified on the name of the main folder) then the change in lifecycle state is canceled. That is pretty much it (without getting into the details).
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