Project Lifecycle Management: A commentary.

By Hal Reid

Autodesk has a core concept of Lifecycle Management as an application for their products.That is, incorporating information from the initial design of a project through the construction and management of the end product, whether that project is a building or an item that is manufactured.

The logic here is that information is collected at each step of the process and should be available to each of the following steps rather than "silo-ed" in a design file, or a set of paper drawings that have been marked up and may represent the as-built drawings.

One the front end of Lifecycle Management, the applications consist of Market Planning, Network (of stores) Management, and customer's distribution. Merchandising and marketing are planned way ahead of what the building is designed to accommodate.

Because of Autodesk's customer base of infrastructure and manufacturing users, their view is orientated toward how these customers work.That means that on the far side of Lifecycle Management for these entities there is retirement or renovation.This might be viewed as road rebuilding, repaving or product retirement rather than the alternate use as we have seen in flexible design elements with respect to the current thinking in building design (See Business Geography and the Human Condition http://www.directionsmag.com/article.php?article_id=452).

Analysts and marketers with a focus on business geography have been historically concerned with new store site selection, new market or store network development, and new product marketing.Now, they are becoming increasingly interested in what to do with these issues at the far end of the lifecycle.The reason is simple: we may have a considerable investment in vacant single use buildings that we are trying to figure out what to do with.

Autodesk, at first blush, seems to be missing the entire story.That is, they have the middle part of the lifecycle "nailed down." Design, build, and manage.However, the do not appear to have a conceptual idea of the beginning (One Upon a Time) of the product or project lifecycle and, consequently, what to do at the end of the lifecycle (Happily Ever After, or start a new story).When I asked about this, they saw my question in terms of infrastructure. However, they had a very key and important concept that allows us to add "Once Upon a Time" and "Happily Ever After" to their vision.

This concept is that the information generated at each step of the process should be passed on to the following step and become integral with it. In other words, the process is a site package continuum, that allows us to know the "why," "the how," and "the what" of a project at each point in the lifecycle.It, then, is not just silos of information that are unknown to each other.

Now at the end of the story, if we know why and how we did this project in the first place, it may give us a clue to the next highest and best use of the land, the building and other assets.Better still is the idea of a continuously updated market profile throughout the lifecycle, so as the market changes we can make changes along the way rather than to try fixing the problem after time had moved on."Once Upon a Time" always conditions "Happily Ever After." What a novel idea to have understanding available across the lifecycle!


Published Thursday, December 11th, 2003

Written by Hal Reid



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