To launch this blog series I have borrowed the concept of the Many-Faced God from HBO’s Game of Thrones because the history and lore fit so well with the world of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).

A scene unfolds:
“A young man walks beside a girl across a flowered field. Spring has come and this girl is his life. He prays. A child climbs a tree to watch the sunset across the fields. Summer is ending and the harvest is life for his village. He prays. A hunter tracks a boar through the woods. Winter is coming and this boar is life for his family. He prays. But to whom do they pray?”
Each of the individuals in our scene has a different experience and reason to pray. Yet the motivation in the invocation or “payer” is the same—life. Similarly, the lifecycle of a product is critical at every season—or phase—in which it develops.

In the PLM industry the question “but to whom do they pray?” has as many answers as there are people to answer it; but walk far enough, climb high enough, hunt long enough, and you will find only one—one product with many seasons, many phases, and many faces.

Obviously, I’m not really talking about people praying. The “prayer” here refers to a product’s ability to deliver. A designer may seek better inspiration or materials to create or innovate a product’s conceptualization. A release manager may request improved communication and better change management. A production manager may want improved end-to-end supply chains. Whatever the “prayer”, PLM is the face of the individual’s—or group’s—needs in their particular “season” of a product’s lifecycle. This, in turn, yields the birth, the spring, and the harvest of a product.

In this series of blogs, we will discuss the full product landscape; from ideation to decommissioning—or even rebirth. Each blog will represent one “face” of a product’s topology, represented by my numerous interactions through business development and project management with products, companies, and PLM vendors as they embark on their journeys. While these blogs will allude only vaguely to company profiles, they will delineate clearly the one thing they all have in common—the life of a product.

When I travel west next week to meet with a large successful retailer and clothing design team, I will talk about how their house stands against the current challenges retailers face and about what must be done to ensure their organizational name lives on. After all, “it’s the (organization’s) name that lives on. That is all that lives on.”