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Keep no Secrets, Inflict no Surprises.

Out with the old, in with the new.

In my last blog I made some serious points in a lighthearted way about the importance of communication. Quite often when you get to lay your hands on some new features of the Capital software, you do it without some lead-in steps. Especially if 1) you have been anticipating new functionality, and 2) you are by nature an enthusiastic early adopter it is hard for me to stress so you will 3) truly take notice 4) how much benefit there is from managing the transition to a new version.


Bear with me and put your enthusiasm aside for a few minutes only whilst I make a few points to your advantage.

Capital version 2011.1 has been available for download since the middle of December 2011.  This is our example.

What’s in it for you?

Some of those important technical advantages you may have been waiting for are likely this time around to be in the build and service phases of electrical platform engineering. For harness makers seeking streamlined processes and cost reductions, and in respect of harness product documentation in technical publications bureau this is a landmark release of the Capital software. Those parts of your enterprise are better served with this release than any previous one. And I share your enthusiasm, and if you prefer to be cool about it, I share your curiosity.

So let’s assume you are highly motivated to get started to seize the opportunity offered by great new functionality in interesting new areas. I’m going to offer some pointers as to how you can get there safely – not endangering prior gains from using other Capital modules for example – with the least disruption and the quickest time to productivity.


Start of accepting a new major revision of enterprise software like Capital.

Secrets are bad in the software realm, so I assure you there is no secret. These are best practices with general applicability.

Start: In the beginning you should plan this project.

Version transition & continuity planning

Main: In the middle you should deliver the detailed work which transitions you from one production version of a key piece of your company’s electrical design to manufacture process.

When you have positioned for success,  the execution phase is much less demanding. takes less nervous energy.

Transition time to upgrade to a new version.

Conclusion: In the end you should supervise the “go live” of the new software products/version and review so that the next revision in 2013 or later the wisdom you have earned going through this over “x” weeks so you can do a similar thing with less time elapsed or fewer human resources next time.


Review and modify your approach where needed in the future.



You may say this is an over simplified view – essentially I am telling you take care of the beginning, middle and end of applying a new release of Capital.  I contend it is necessary. What I have seen is customers neglecting some very fundamental aspects of good Information Technology control. Engineering users are not expert IT professionals, and IT professionals are not expert Engineering users. You need both working together in this project. Who’s in charge of a given task is worked out “ad-hoc” and varies from day to day. Here’s an example risk: that the left hand may expect the right hand to be the project leader and vice versa, resulting in no project control. Sometimes there’s an attempt to go ahead without someone exercising even the most basic disciplines of setting target dates and estimating durations for testing. These upgrade projects end with surprises.  Surprises in software are in the same category as secrets in this context. They are always unwelcome and occasionally unpleasant.

So, your time is valuable and you have things to do. It is time to close.

 Executive summary.

  • Notice the five pictures through this brief celebration of the new version of Capital.
  • Welcome 2011.1 – and if you look at the images and don’t see something you have already taken care of then you need to review how you are shepherding the new version into production.

Deployment, CHS, Electrical Interconnect Design, Best Practice, Capital, Automotive Electrical and Electronic Systems Design, Version upgrade, Capital MPM, Capital Version 2011.1, Capital Insight, Capital Level Manager

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About Paul Johnston

Paul JohnstonI help Mentor Graphics customers to be successful, accomplish a more rapid return on investment. My professonal focus is on the Capital product line. Customers need a good technical and commercial understanding when making software system purchasing and adopting decisions and in addressing issues through to best resolution. I am one of the team of experts Mentor employs to support the Capital worldwide. I was born just outside of Manchester England, am now resident in the metro Detroit area of Michigan USA. I have worked for Mentor Graphics for more than 15 years. Visit Paul Johnston's Blog

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