I became the internal PDM-Link Site Administrator for my company Westport in early January of 2014. We currently work with PDM 9 but are about to finish a system upgrade to PDM 10.1. I have worked with PDM 9 for years but not at the level of a Site Administrator until I got this new position, so I was able to dig into the admin system menus and functions for the first time. And from what I have seen, coming from a Manufacturing Engineer background where I have to set up and train users on processes that are efficient and easy to use, I see multiple areas in PDM that could be improved.
1) OBJECT TYPE INFORMATION IN TYPE AND ATTRIBUTE MANAGER MENU
When I go into the Type and Attribute Manager system menu and look at the various object Types in there, clicking on each one shows seven basic Property fields. Out of the box, i.e. freshly sold by you, those fields have virtually no information in them. PDM 9 was worse; every field was literally a direct copy of the internal system variable name, whereas in PDM 10 there's at least a little bit of extra information, but still far from enough. The most critical issue in this is the Description field is just a copy of the object Display Name. For anything other than an object with a blatantly obvious name like Change Request, that tells an admin aboslutely zero about what that object type is for. If I want to look into upgrading the Policy Administrator rules on objects I need to know what each of them is for. Those Description fields in the Type and Attribute Manager need to come with at least basic one-sentence descriptions of what that object type does. All of the online documentation that I can find either through your manuals or elsewhere barely mentions a tenth of the objects in that list.
2) USER TEAM LINKS TO OBJECT INITIALIZATION RULES
When I go into the Object Initialization Rules menu it shows me a list of all the primary object types. In PDM 10, if I right click on a rule and select Edit all it brings up is a window that lets me change the rule name and look for an XML file. No other information is shown. I actually have to Download the rule and open the XML file to see any details, the most crucial being which of the site Team templates that object references on creation. If I want to edit which team to use I have to manipulate the XML file then re-upload it. I'm sorry, but this is just stupidly clunky. Nearly every other interface in the system for linking processes, objects, life-cycles etc. to each other has very easy-to-use dropdown menus and searches within the standard screen menus, and don't require fiddling with XML files. Why doesn't this one? Most of the other variables in the XML file look like internal system stuff so that could probably be left hidden, but the Teams are so easy to alter from the Team Administration menu that we need the same ease of linking them to object initialization rules.
3) REFERENCE CHART FOR THE INTERLINKING ACCESS CONTROL SYSTEMS
This falls more under documentation requirements but it would still be quite handy. There are at least five central access control systems in PDM that I know about which all interlink/override each other in different situations, and it can be a bit of a confusing mess to follow. I am learning it, but some kind of reference chart in one of your manuals that showed those linkages would have been profoundly helpful and would have sped up the learning process by a factor of 10. The access control systems I know of are the following:
-Configure Actions for Role menu within each Context
-The Access Control tab in an advanced Life Cycle from within the Life Cycle Administrator system
-The system that links user roles to tasks within Workflows, which comes as a two-part package from the linked Team in the Object Initialization Rules (mentioned in issue 2) and the setups within the Workflow Template Administrator function.
Just one visual flowchart that shows the links and which system overrides what when both work on the same item would be enough.
Please consider putting these upgrades into your software. I really believe it would help administrators significantly.