How to build your CMMS dream team

David Berger explores the 11 stakeholders you need to ensure CMMS implementation success.

By David Berger

If you’re thinking of implementing a new CMMS or upgrading your old one, know that success with the project will depend heavily on not just your choice of software but also your ability to pull together an outstanding project organizational structure. This is because CMMS packages today are pretty rich in functionality and easily configurable, making your ability to implement the software a key differentiator.

It’s fair to say that no company wants to release high-quality resources from their regular duties for six to 18 months to work on a CMMS implementation. However, typical CMMS implementation failure rates of 50%–80% provide a compelling argument in favor of making certain sacrifices. Here are the key components of a successful organizational structure for a CMMS implementation project.

1. Executive committee

The implementation project’s executive committee should include senior management representation from all stakeholder groups, such as operations, engineering, information systems, finance, and human resources (HR). This committee will ensure that project deliverables achieve their target objectives and deliver true value to the organization. Progress can be monitored through regular updates from key steering committee reps – typically on a monthly basis but no less than quarterly. Sample responsibilities of the executive committee are as follows:

  • Fund the project
  • Justify the expected benefits and approve project costs
  • Ensure that business objectives are clearly defined
  • Approve and monitor the project charter and budget as well as schedule and scope changes
  • Champion the project to the organization
  • Commit to provide needed project resources

The finance executive has ultimate responsibility for stewardship of the project budget and ownership of integration with financial systems.

2. Steering committee

This committee will reviews the project’s status, typically weekly or biweekly. Each steering committee meeting should have three key agenda items as follows:

  1. Was the work scheduled to be done since the last meeting accomplished? 
  2. If not, how can the committee help remove any barriers?
  3. What work should be done by the next meeting?

The steering committee is responsible for all project deliverables and makes any necessary strategic decisions required. It’s also responsible for resolving escalated issues and keeping senior management and key stakeholders apprised of the project’s status.

3. Project consultant

There may be interest in engaging an third-party subject-matter expert to assist with a CMMS implementation. This consultant, reporting to the executive committee, can provide industry best practices and expertise regarding maintenance processes and maintenance management systems.

4. Project manager (PM)

The project manager, who should report frequently to the executive and steering committees, is responsible for accomplishing project objectives while ensuring that project costs, timeline, scope, and quality are properly managed. The PM should be a well-respected senior resource (such as a plant manager) who is seconded by operations leaders. This will ensure the highest level of influence over not just the steering and executive committees but also the front-line and middle management professionals who will manage the CMMS once the implementation is complete.

5. Project coordinator

The project coordinator assists the project management team with logistics, communications, resource on-boarding, special events, and other administrative project duties.

6. The system implementer (SI)

The SI consists of one or more resources from the CMMS vendor and/or a third-party implementer. The SI ensures that project deliverables are met per the statement of work (SOW). 

7. Lead IT specialist

This resource is responsible for oversight of all information technology (IT), infrastructure, and configuration functions. The role ensures that the right resources representing IT and business interests are on the project, that the appropriate IT methodology is adopted, that project control practices are followed, and that IT standards are met.

8. IT project team

Under the lead IT specialist’s direction, this team is responsible for system configuration based on functional requirements; infrastructure setup and maintenance; data conversion, migration, and warehousing; database administration; management of cutover from legacy systems prior to go-live; and integration testing.

9. Change management/training team

This team will be responsible for:

  • Development, validation, approval, and implementation of organizational design and related changes
  • Development and rollout of a training plan, typically using a “train-the-trainer” approach
  • Developing a communications plan for implementation and post-go-live
  • Monitoring of stakeholder engagement to gauge adoption of process, system, and organizational changes

10. Business process & configuration team

This team develops future-state process flows and supporting system requirements and ensures that the CMMS is configured accordingly. The team also handles all business data loaded into the system, such as hierarchies, code tables, and master data. The team supports system testing and post-go-live support efforts.

11. Project team leads

Leaders for each of the project teams described above should be highly respected and influential with management, their peers, and the front line.

In addition, they should have deep and current subject-matter expertise in areas for which their team is responsible; excellent spoken and written communication skills; superior organizational skills (time-management and record-keeping acuity, etc).; and basic technical savvy.
It’s critical to find project team leads and team members who can not only design future-state processes but also inspire the rest of the organization to embrace these.