How to Conduct a Needs Assessment for Your Maintenance Department, Part 5: What’s Your Timeline?


Timing is everything. And with all the other pieces of your needs assessment in place,  it’s now time to create a realistic project timeline.

Maintenance department managers are no strangers to due dates and schedules. Creating a timeline for a complicated, long-term project like this is similar to the work you do every day when planning the logistics and schedules for maintenance tasks.

So let’s dig in.

Creating a Timeline

At this point, everything starts to come together. Use the information you’ve already gathered to create a document for conducting your needs assessment that includes…

  • Milestones
  • Tasks
  • Deliverables
  • Deadlines

Now, as any maintenance department manager knows, external factors affect timelines. For example, if you plan on upgrading or purchasing new CMMS software, you’ll need to include a schedule for data migration—which needs to happen at a time where you can retain the data you want to keep while enabling your team to still do their jobs.

With this in mind, fill in details about…

  • Available resources
  • Task duration
  • Available funds
  • Dependent tasks and/or events
  • Other schedules

Sometime it’s helpful to create a timeline diagram, which shows tasks along a horizontal time scale. Then you’ll have a visual sequence of events, which may be particularly helpful if your maintenance department needs to get budget or project approval from managers or other departments.

Some Good Advice

As always, our MPulse customers who’ve been there are generous with good advice. We’ve gathered some of their suggestions about conducting a needs assessment, which include…

  1. Plan for things to not go as planned
  2. Update information on a regular basis
  3. If you’re missing information, leave yourself a note about how you can find it
  4. Revise timeline as necessary
  5. Note which tasks have hard deadlines, and which ones you can adjust
  6. Include necessary approval dates
  7. Build in time for quality assurance/control
  8. Check off tasks when they’re done
  9. Identify tasks that can be done while other tasks are in progress
  10. Distribute tasks among your team members that play to their strengths

We’ve come a long way in a short period of time. Conducting a needs assessment may feel daunting at first. But know that you’re not alone. Contact us to see how MPulse can help you get your maintenance department where you want to go. We’re here to help.