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The Art of Keeping PLM Momentum

Recently I had the opportunity to spend some time with Susanna Mäentausta, Director of strategic programs at Kemira. She has been at Kemira for the last 10 years – and is our most requested speaker to date! Susanna’s background is in the chemical industry as part of product safety and regulatory advocacy in global teams. She presented on the topic of Keeping Momentum at PI PLMx London earlier this year.

In this freeform discussion, we spend some time talking about how to Keep PLM Momentum after the initial phase of your technology implementation is past. Spoiler alert, it has everything to do with focusing on your people.

Inspired by our conversation, I’ve expanded on some of our conclusions, in bold, below.


“PLM is all about mindset change in the organization”

Unless people understand why we are changing our processes, the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) initiative will not succeed. This is true for any initiative that creates cultural and process change.

The PLM initiative’s objective is about reaching overall goals for the company. Of course, it is about streamlining the end-to-end processes for the product, like information flows, approvals, changes etc but always to either reduce risk, eliminate waste, or increase. But to do this it is crucial to keep the whole organization aligned on:

  • We need to change
  • And this is why we need to change
  • And this is the way forward and how we will succeed together

Part of that process is also realizing it is not about satisfying every request.

There will be teams who will have seemingly more work to do and who are not going to be as happy and there are teams that will be happier because daily work becomes easier for them. Which drives us back to the mindset change.

Happiness and more work are perceptions. PLM enables a new level of truth; not just in documentation, but in throughput and processing times – tons of facts that can be drawn on to support the mindset change through replacing beliefs with facts. Susanna goes into this at 13:00 in the discussion. Highly recommend listening to her directly.


Communicate, communicate, communicate

One of the biggest takeaways for me from Susanna is that you cannot over-communicate.

Communication is the most important under-the-surface discipline that leaders in a change process tend to underprioritize. It is especially important for management to understand how they need to lead their part of the organization. When a project is well communicated and well-executed, eventually all the teams win through greater understanding, visibility, and cooperation – which further enables the business to also reach its goals.

Communication is very closely related to the mindset. To keep people engaged and motivated they need to be included and to understand. Constantly repeating and explaining the why and the how behind the decisions and the new way of executing work is crucial.

You need to do that throughout all the layers of the organization. Different layers of the organization do not need the same message necessarily but baking the reasoning into their every day makes it resonate with them and helps them care about it.



How do you ensure that PLM as a theme, as a way of working, stays in the day-to-day mindset after the implementation and project mode? It is rather natural in a project process, the manager follows up, management is interested, stakeholders are communicated to, but once the project is over, it is very easy to forget about it.

So, how do you hardwire that presence into the post-project phase in your organization? Continuing to talk about change is a great start so it does not fade into the background. But Susanna drives it back to the PLM process owner holding key responsibility in conjunction with a team of supporting experts to continuously identify evidence-based reasons to improve after the initial implementation is complete.

Keeping PLM momentum is key to continuous success, user adoption, and support for the initiative. Just like any change management process, it is a continuous work-in-progress which Susanna Mäentausta knows from her daily work at Kemira.


What’s your advice?

What do you do to keep PLM momentum after the project mode has completed?

Want to share a story with the community? I’d love to interview you in an episode of Minerva PLM TV to help you get your story out.

Looking to bounce your ideas around with fellow PLM community enthusiasts? Reach out. Most are open to at least a discussion, myself included.  


About the author

Jennifer Moore

Jennifer Moore has more than 15 years of experience in Business Transformation across different industries. Her extensive experience includes helping companies navigate complex regulatory requirements through software solutions. She has been developing and deploying large, multi-faceted enterprise software project, driving revenues as well as market adoption.

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