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Is Anyone Successfully Using Release Management?

brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 1,684 PRO
Curious if anyone has successfully implemented release management and what the secrets to success are?  

I am trying to use it a medium size project today and it seems to be creating more headaches than solving problems for me ATM. I am a bit disappointed as I had high hopes. 


Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   

Best Answers

  • Stefan_DMSStefan_DMS Posts: 28 PRO
    Accepted Answer
    To add to the discussion we have been using Onshape for over a year now before there were the release management/enterprise tools. There is definitely a tough learning curve to get your head around release management. We still have a ton of documents that are not managed in an effective way. 
    I want to show how we use the release management, for critique and might help someone plan their system.

    In terms of workflow we set up a structure around folders that manage the design files, CAM/released parts and drawings, and BOM/assembly documents. We kinda split up the documents into their functions, and work as universes that the different departments have access too. We have 3 main work folders named, Design Files, MFG files, BOM files. 

    Design files folder has all the work the engineers use, it gets messy, lots of versions (only used by the engineering team). 

    The MFG folder has documents with derived parts from the design file part studio, only once the particular part is ready to be released. (very strict rules apply to how revisions are numbered and labelled) The MFG documents also have the manufacturing drawings in these documents. The MFG documents are where parts a released. when a part in the design files is ready, the derive is updated in the MFG document, drawing updated, designed checked, then released. (this is where we want a specific access user account that can only see released/versioned parts, no access to the "Main" workspace).

    Then we have a BOM document which then pulls all the released parts back into an assembly. This is where the "off-the-shelf" parts are added, and the custom parts that come from the MFG documents. These documents only have assemblies in them. (No part studios at all) This is where the product as a whole is released. (we aren't quite there at managing the release here... YET) 
    We plan to use two different revision management systems, one with numbers one with letters. 
    The BOM documents will include a drawing (with a BOM list and part callouts) and PDFs of the product instructions and even possibly the marketing material (more to come).  

    This system simplifies how the released parts are accessed. Only designs that are ready for release are in the MFG folder are accessible to the CNC/CAM operators, and nothing else. Also, this means we can design using multi-part part studios, and the MFG doc will be a single part per part-studio. 
    It creates a flow for getting parts through the system. The issue is with keeping to our own rules, and being vigilant when incrementing version numbers. 
    But it works for us. 


Answers

  • philip_thomasphilip_thomas Member, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,156
    @adrian_velazquez - as a pro, would you please submit enhancement requests (one per feature) so that we can track specifically what would make your life easier. :)

    Philip Thomas - Onshape
  • adrian_velazquezadrian_velazquez Member Posts: 67 PRO
    Hi @philip_thomas, I did originally posted this:

    https://forum.onshape.com/discussion/9842/release-management-customization#latest

    as an Improvement request but got moved to Feedback. I know is not a 1 item per idea, but I thought it would get more attention that way. Again, there is very little traction for RM and Enterprise here in the forum.
    Adrian V.
    CAD Administrator
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 1,684 PRO
    In the tab manager, I can hit triangle to show the released documents for that version. This is great but what I really want is to see all released drawings for this document.  Is this possible?  @philip_thomas





    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • philip_thomasphilip_thomas Member, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,156
    @brucebartlett - that's a really good idea. We can't do that today, but we should. Please submit an enhancement request through the feedback tool so that story gets one more vote (which in turn makes it happen sooner :))!
    Philip Thomas - Onshape
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 1,684 PRO
    @philip_thomas , Ok so I've used release management to release a heap of drawings for a product. I had to do this step by step with various releases. Now I am trying to find a way to easily access all the released drawings at the latest revision. I am really struggling to do this in Onshape as now my released drawing are scattered through various revisions on the version tree. I was really disappointed to find the last revision on the tree doesn't roll forwards with any of the lastest previously released parts, I am sure I saw this happen in a demo video. It is possible to do a search for lastest release drawing from the home screen but this gives no structure, so only really helpful if you know what your searching for.  A simple scenario I am try to solve now is how can I send someone to the document and get them to print all the latest revision drawings? what I really want to be able to get to a single workspace of the document showing the structure of the product with only released drawings but can't see how to do this.  The only way I can see now is to manually build text document or spreadsheet with URL links to the released drawings.   
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • christopher_quijanochristopher_quijano OS Professional Posts: 37 PRO
    I have not played with the Release Management system so far because I really don't understand how it works for even the most basic features. For example if I am working on assembly XYZ I may want to open the latest in-work version of XYZ and all the sub-parts. However, there are times when I want to open only the latest released version of XYZ and I only want to see the latest released versions of all sub components. If this is doable currently I hope someone can point me to a tutorial to see how its done. However, from what I am seeing on this thread it still sounds like a very manual and error prone process.
  • philip_thomasphilip_thomas Member, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,156
    @christopher_quijano - thank you for your questions.
    The number one misconception about release management is an expectation that 'released' parts are to be found in the workspace - they are not.
    A released part lives in a (special) version. An assembly (in the workspace) can reference either workspace version of a part, or any version of a part, or any revision (release) of a part. If a part is up-revved, a notification is generated indicating that a newer revision is available - at that point, it is the choice of the user to incorporate the rev B or continue using the rev A (for reasons of Stock-on-hand or any other reason). To release an assembly, all the parts must be in a released state (Onshape can generate a release package that includes all currently unreleased parts). Once released, that revision of the assembly lives in a version (just like a released part) and can be referenced elsewhere (eg drawings or other assemblies).  This is cunning in its simplicity and works really well. It is neither manual nor particularly error prone! :)

    Here is a webinar introducing the capability and we will be rolling out live training classes in the near future.

    https://www.onshape.com/videos/release-management-and-approval-workflows




    If after going through the video you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask :)
    Philip Thomas - Onshape
  • engineering_deltapengineering_deltap Member Posts: 7 PRO
    Curious if anyone has successfully implemented release management and what the secrets to success are?  

    I am trying to use it a medium size project today and it seems to be creating more headaches than solving problems for me ATM. I am a bit disappointed as I had high hopes. 


    brucebartlett Whatever you learn, I'd really like you to share with us. 
  • Stefan_DMSStefan_DMS Member Posts: 28 PRO
    I am interested in the EVP for Release management. 
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 1,684 PRO


    brucebartlett Whatever you learn, I'd really like you to share with us. 
    Sure, once I have some good methods in place for myself I'll give you a demo. 
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • adrian_velazquezadrian_velazquez Member Posts: 67 PRO
    I am currently working on a new instructor-led class for Release Management. The goal of this class is to explain the Admin settings, common user workflows, and best practices of Release Management.

    This thread is very timely! I will be offering an EVP of the class in early November, and I am looking for participants. The details are still being worked on, but it will run for about 2 hours, similar in structure to Onshape Bootcamp. The EVP in November will be the first time it will be taught (excluding internal practice) and I will be requesting feedback from the participants afterwards. The class size will be limited, on a first come first serve basis. If this interests you, please send an email to [email protected] and as the details finalize, we can get you registered for the class.
    Very interested!
    Adrian V.
    CAD Administrator
  • KatieHuffmanKatieHuffman Member, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 54
    edited October 1
    I am currently working on a new instructor-led class for Release Management. The goal of this class is to explain the Admin settings, common user workflows, and best practices of Release Management.

    This thread is very timely! I will be offering an EVP of the class in early November, and I am looking for participants. The details are still being worked on, but it will run for about 2 hours, similar in structure to Onshape Bootcamp. The EVP in November will be the first time it will be taught (excluding internal practice) and I will be requesting feedback from the participants afterwards. The class size will be limited, on a first come first serve basis. If this interests you, please send an email to [email protected] and as the details finalize, we can get you registered for the class.
    Very interested!
    @adrian_velazquez ; please send me an email so I can get the necessary information to contact you when there are registration directions. [email protected]
  • tom_macphailtom_macphail Member Posts: 2 PRO
    I am currently working on a new instructor-led class for Release Management. The goal of this class is to explain the Admin settings, common user workflows, and best practices of Release Management.

    This thread is very timely! I will be offering an EVP of the class in early November, and I am looking for participants. The details are still being worked on, but it will run for about 2 hours, similar in structure to Onshape Bootcamp. The EVP in November will be the first time it will be taught (excluding internal practice) and I will be requesting feedback from the participants afterwards. The class size will be limited, on a first come first serve basis. If this interests you, please send an email to [email protected] and as the details finalize, we can get you registered for the class.
    Also very interested and have sent an email.
  • michael_bromleymichael_bromley Member Posts: 33 PRO
    @philip_thomas , Ok so I've used release management to release a heap of drawings for a product. I had to do this step by step with various releases. Now I am trying to find a way to easily access all the released drawings at the latest revision. I am really struggling to do this in Onshape as now my released drawing are scattered through various revisions on the version tree. I was really disappointed to find the last revision on the tree doesn't roll forwards with any of the lastest previously released parts, I am sure I saw this happen in a demo video. It is possible to do a search for lastest release drawing from the home screen but this gives no structure, so only really helpful if you know what your searching for.  A simple scenario I am try to solve now is how can I send someone to the document and get them to print all the latest revision drawings? what I really want to be able to get to a single workspace of the document showing the structure of the product with only released drawings but can't see how to do this.  The only way I can see now is to manually build text document or spreadsheet with URL links to the released drawings.   
    This is the exact issue that I struggle with.  I find it very difficult for someone that is not intimate with the document to view it and understand the state of the assemblies, parts and drawings.  As you mentioned the releases can be scattered across different versions so it makes it difficult to see the big picture.  Most recently I've taken the time to go through my assemblies and update to the proper released version so that the user can quickly tell the status of all the parts in that assembly by looking at the tree on the left for the triangle icons.  However, this has to be done manually.  If the assembly is released (and all parts that comprise it) the very next version or main will not indicate the release status.

    Essentially there is no flow through as the document is always "in work", but this can be very confusing at times.
  • tim_hess427tim_hess427 Member Posts: 37 PRO
    @philip_thomas , Ok so I've used release management to release a heap of drawings for a product. I had to do this step by step with various releases. Now I am trying to find a way to easily access all the released drawings at the latest revision. I am really struggling to do this in Onshape as now my released drawing are scattered through various revisions on the version tree. I was really disappointed to find the last revision on the tree doesn't roll forwards with any of the lastest previously released parts, I am sure I saw this happen in a demo video. It is possible to do a search for lastest release drawing from the home screen but this gives no structure, so only really helpful if you know what your searching for.  A simple scenario I am try to solve now is how can I send someone to the document and get them to print all the latest revision drawings? what I really want to be able to get to a single workspace of the document showing the structure of the product with only released drawings but can't see how to do this.  The only way I can see now is to manually build text document or spreadsheet with URL links to the released drawings.   
    This is the exact issue that I struggle with.  I find it very difficult for someone that is not intimate with the document to view it and understand the state of the assemblies, parts and drawings.  As you mentioned the releases can be scattered across different versions so it makes it difficult to see the big picture.  Most recently I've taken the time to go through my assemblies and update to the proper released version so that the user can quickly tell the status of all the parts in that assembly by looking at the tree on the left for the triangle icons.  However, this has to be done manually.  If the assembly is released (and all parts that comprise it) the very next version or main will not indicate the release status.

    Essentially there is no flow through as the document is always "in work", but this can be very confusing at times.
    I've thought about this too. The only other alternative I can think of is to keep separate documents that only have released assemblies and drawings. But even as I think about it and write this, I can see this system falling short. This really doesn't seem ideal to me. I really wish I could create linked, read-only copies of document releases. Sort of like inserting a released part into an assembly, I'd like to insert a released drawing (or sheet?) into another drawing. 

    Overall, it seems like there's a lot of great revision control, release management, PDM tools built into onshape, but visibility into the current state of your data is lacking. I can assign part numbers, but part numbers aren't displayed in search results and we don't have a part catalog. Similarly, I can make versions/releases of parts, assemblies, and drawings, but I can't quickly filter visible data by release stage. 
  • philip_thomasphilip_thomas Member, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,156
    Lots of good ideas and disucssion. I am traveling right now, but will be back in the office tomorrow. Let me talk to some people and see what our plans are and to what extent I can share them here. Obviously we value all this feedback and we will do whatever is needed to make Onshape the most productive CAD/PDM platform possible. 
    Philip Thomas - Onshape
  • adrian_velazquezadrian_velazquez Member Posts: 67 PRO
    edited November 7
    Agree with the comments above, the Interface for Onshape uses a lot of Open Fields to navigate Data, i.e:

    • Document Name
    • Version Name
    • Workspace Name
    • Part Name
    • Revision Name
    • etc...
    In a Controlled Environment we need Managed Meta Data (Part Number, Revision Number, Description), to have more relevance and/or be more accessible.


    Adrian V.
    CAD Administrator
  • Stefan_DMSStefan_DMS Member Posts: 28 PRO
    Accepted Answer
    To add to the discussion we have been using Onshape for over a year now before there were the release management/enterprise tools. There is definitely a tough learning curve to get your head around release management. We still have a ton of documents that are not managed in an effective way. 
    I want to show how we use the release management, for critique and might help someone plan their system.

    In terms of workflow we set up a structure around folders that manage the design files, CAM/released parts and drawings, and BOM/assembly documents. We kinda split up the documents into their functions, and work as universes that the different departments have access too. We have 3 main work folders named, Design Files, MFG files, BOM files. 

    Design files folder has all the work the engineers use, it gets messy, lots of versions (only used by the engineering team). 

    The MFG folder has documents with derived parts from the design file part studio, only once the particular part is ready to be released. (very strict rules apply to how revisions are numbered and labelled) The MFG documents also have the manufacturing drawings in these documents. The MFG documents are where parts a released. when a part in the design files is ready, the derive is updated in the MFG document, drawing updated, designed checked, then released. (this is where we want a specific access user account that can only see released/versioned parts, no access to the "Main" workspace).

    Then we have a BOM document which then pulls all the released parts back into an assembly. This is where the "off-the-shelf" parts are added, and the custom parts that come from the MFG documents. These documents only have assemblies in them. (No part studios at all) This is where the product as a whole is released. (we aren't quite there at managing the release here... YET) 
    We plan to use two different revision management systems, one with numbers one with letters. 
    The BOM documents will include a drawing (with a BOM list and part callouts) and PDFs of the product instructions and even possibly the marketing material (more to come).  

    This system simplifies how the released parts are accessed. Only designs that are ready for release are in the MFG folder are accessible to the CNC/CAM operators, and nothing else. Also, this means we can design using multi-part part studios, and the MFG doc will be a single part per part-studio. 
    It creates a flow for getting parts through the system. The issue is with keeping to our own rules, and being vigilant when incrementing version numbers. 
    But it works for us. 


  • adrian_velazquezadrian_velazquez Member Posts: 67 PRO

    This system simplifies how the released parts are accessed. Only designs that are ready for release are in the MFG folder are accessible to the CNC/CAM operators, and nothing else. Also, this means we can design using multi-part part studios, and the MFG doc will be a single part per part-studio. 
    It creates a flow for getting parts through the system. The issue is with keeping to our own rules, and being vigilant when incrementing version numbers. 
    But it works for us. 


    Yeah, this sums up some of the comments made above, the entire systems feels too much like a free-for-all. Setting up Best Practices is proving to be quite the challenge when there are no means to manage certain aspects of the software.
    Adrian V.
    CAD Administrator
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 1,684 PRO
    edited November 7
    @Stefan_DMS Thanks Stefan for taking the time to answer here. The 3 levels of document types and access, sounds like a good approach but I can see it would require quite some discipline to maintain. 

    Do you ever have BOMs and assemblies in the MFG document or are these all keep to the BOM document with a product structure ie, multi-level sub assys? 

    Also, do you use a custom revision list to manage your various release version numbers?
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
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