Community Forum


Issue: December 28, 2004

Visible Spotlight
- Razor Users Forum: Razor in the 21st Century

- Razor 2005 Training
- Tech Tip

- What Every Good PDM Should Include

Modleing Tools
- UK-Based Seminars


Visible Spotlight - Feature Story

Razor in the 21st Century

Visible Systems Corporation of Lexington, Massachusetts held its 5th annual
Razor Users Forum at Lockheed Martin's Space Systems Atlas Rocket plant in
Waterton Canyon, Colorado on December 8 & 9, 2004. The forum brought together
software configuration management specialists from around the globe to discuss
with Visible Systems management, Razor development engineers, and trainers,
planned enhancements to Razor, a proprietary software configuration management
application. Through presentations and open discussion, ideas were shared
across varied industries such as pharmaceuticals, aerospace, electronics,
and financial services.

The forum's twenty-two attendees were greeted on the first day by Visible's
COO, Mike Cesino. Mike promptly launched into a presentation and subsequent
discussion of Visible's Product Strategy touching on the company's history and
background as well as Visible's suite of Enterprise Architecture/Modeling,
Product Data Management, and Software Configuration Management (SCM)

Razor 5.0 (released 09/2004) was a forum subject that generated a great
deal of interest and discussion. Highlights of Razor 5.0 touched on newly
supported operating systems which include Red Hat Linux Enterprise and
Advanced Server as well as Windows Advanced Server. Other added functionality
including an easier to use Razor executable for laptop installations and the
new Live Links GUI between Versions & Issues were also hot topics.

Several Razor 5.0 patch releases were discussed, most notably Razor's
integration with POSIX 3.5 for Windows 2000+ and XP. Releases of IssueWeaver,
RAZOR 5.1, 5.2 and the incorporation of forum attendees suggestions/feedback
comprised the remainder of the first days working session.

Day 2 of the Razor Users Forum focused on the use of Razor by participants.
Three unique SCM presentations using Visible's Razor were given by Terri Rogge
of Lockheed Martin, Steve Frikert of Roche Pharmaceuticals, and John Church
of Lockheed Martin. These three SCM engineers demonstrated the ingenuity,
vision, and persistence of their chosen profession and the dedication they
bring to using configuration management to develop“mission critical software
for better health, national defense, and the exploration of Space.

During the“Razor feedback session, several new attendees voiced their
interest in beta testing Razor 5.x and Razor's VersionWeaver tool. To
enhance the beta experience and learn more of what is planned for release,
Al Menendez, head trainer for Visible Systems, chaired a forum wide
teleconference with Visible System's’chief development engineer for Razor,
Brian McIntyre. This two-way exchange between customer/user and the
development side of Visible's operations proved to be a smash hit and will
characterize a segment of future User Forum activities. The forum concluded
with a guided tour of Lockheed Martin's Atlas Rocket assembly facility. An
eye-widening experience considering the complex engineering and integration
of both hardware and software needed to lift the Atlas into space.

Forum Addendum: Because of the success of this year's Forum and at the
request of the Razor Users, Visible Systems is considering a follow-up
activity billed as a Razor Working Session. Although the details have yet
to be worked out, if you think you would be interested in participating,
please contact Stan Mazuroski, VP of Business Development for Visible at

Razor Users Forum content can be found online at:

Razor 2005 Training

We just wrapped up the last of this years Razor training classes. We received
excellent reviews from our students about our great location, knowledgeable
instructor, and outstanding material.

We had a full class with students coming from all of the USA from a range of
different companies including Northrop Grumman, Raytheon E-Systems, L-3
Communications, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Robins AFB, NASA - Kennedy Space
Center, Unites Space Alliance, Titan Corporation and Lockheed Martin.

Student Comments:

"Razor's approach will help our company form a process and a plan to
configuration management. We look forward to unlocking the power of Razor"
Chris J. Shalbert - Andesa Services, Inc.

"Al Menendez, the instructor, is an asset to your company. His presentation
and knowledge of this product was outstanding, Al's willingness to assist those
with less understanding of configuration management is very admirable"
Earl Peckham - NLX Corporation

"I feel confident that we are using a good tool and that we can make it work
for us the way we need it to - Thanks!" Amy Baker - Anteon Corporation

Razor 2005 Training Dates:

In 2005 Visible Systems will be offering training classes on the following dates:

Apr. 18th UNIX for Razor Administrators
Apr. 19th - Apr. 22nd Razor End User/Administrators
Apr. 25th - Apr. 28th Implementing a Process with Razor

Oct. 17th UNIX for Razor Administrators
Oct. 18th - Oct. 21st Razor End User/Administrators
Oct. 24th - Oct. 27th Implementing a Process with Razor

For more information on training, we welcome you to visit our web site

Razor Tech Tip

A Reminder On Naming Conventions...

- For filenames, folder names, and Attribute names & values, we recommend using
only the 26 letters of the alphabet, numbers 0-9, and the underscore or dash.

- Short and descriptive filenames are usually most effective and user friendly.

- Using embedded spaces or any other special characters for names has been
known to cause problems


What Every Good PDM Should Include

Visible Systems products are driven by standards and they have developed
the LCSIS PDM application to meet DOD CM standards, ANSI/EIA and ISO standards
for lifecycle product data configuration management. At Visible Systems, we
feel strongly that marketplace standards should govern any PDM system. We
plan to publish a follow-up article in the near future on international
standards and the CM (configuration management) paradigm as it relates to

Data Vaulting
In addition to a central database of product information, any good PDM
system should provide data vaulting. "Vaults" are repositories in which a
category of information is stored and updated. Data having to do with a
specific product is collected in a product vault, which will contain all
drawings, specifications, supporting documents, Bill of Materials (BOM),
test reports, etc. The product vault should include a record of product
development and a history of changes to a product over its lifecycle. This
provides a "full explosion" of the product from the beginning to end of its
design, ideally in a hierarchical arrangement - from the whole to the
smallest parts. The PDM system should be able to cross-reference multiple
vaults, and identification systems should be in place for products,
assemblies, subassemblies, and parts.

Other types of vaults may exist - for example one that contains documents
related to the enterprise itself, such as the strategic plan, financial
reports, environmental impact statements, etc.

Ideally the PDM will be remotely accessible across a WAN or and/or via the
Internet. The data should be protected by multiple levels of security and
should offer system administration capabilities, including configurable
restrictions based on user or group profiles.

Data Review
A quality PDM system will extract a Bill of Materials - the list of what goes
into a product - and all associated data, including the product baseline
associated with the BOM.

Change Control Management
Key to a good PDM system is the ability to track and control changes to a
product. As part of the change management process, the PDM system should
allow the end user to apply new information into a title block after a
change has been made (either a redline revision or the addition of a new
drawing) when the final approval for a change is given. Updates should be
made automatically, and all other impacted documents should be revised
accordingly. The system should also manage changes to parts and assemblies.
Both change requests and changes made should be documented.

Workflow and Task Management
The system should include workflow and task management functions, such
as task definition, assignment tracking, and scheduling. There should be a
process in place for check-in and check-out of documents, as well as a
customizable document distribution process. Task management should extend to
allow parts suppliers to request changes and comments related to their
products in the marketplace.

For more information on Visible's PDM solution, LCSIS, please visit us at:

Modeling Tools

Clive Finkelstein, our chief scientist, conducted a five day seminar
last month in London covering the following subjects:

- Strategic Modeling for Building Enterprise Architecture

Topics Included:
- What Methodologies are used to Implement Enterprise Architecture?
- How can Enterprise Architecture be used to identify Priority Areas?
- How can Business Experts work with IT Experts to deliver Priority Areas?
- How can Priority Areas be delivered as incremental 3 month Sub-Projects?
- How do these Methods work in a Practical Workshop Environment?

- Enterprise Integration Strategies and Technologies

Topics Included:
- Understanding the problems presented by nonintegrated, disparate, redundant
data versions that have evolved over many years in today's 21st Century
- Understanding how technologies such as XML, EAI and Web Services can achieve
integration for today's nonintegrated enterprise.
- Understanding how Corporate Portals provide ready access to data, processes
and information that may not yet be fully integrated, but that this is not
the complete integration solution.
- Understanding that part of the integration solution also lies with
Enterprise Architecture, to achieve Enterprise Integration at a Business
level as well as at a Technology level.

Clive Finkelstein, known worldwide as the "Father" of Information Engineering
(IE), has derived his concept of information engineering from techniques he
developed to bridge from strategic business planning to information systems.

For more information on Clive and/or his upcoming UK-based seminars, please
visit the following sites:



How would you rearrange the letters in the words "New Door" to
make one word?

The answer to the above puzzle can be found at:


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