- A good enough knowledge of RCM to participate in the review groups
- The ability to facilitate the analysis accurately and to move forward at a reasonable pace
- Good project management skills
There is no need to buy in any external help if your organisation already has these skills; but In practice almost everyone working with RCM for the first time chooses to buy in external help. Since most industrial organisations have their own project management staff, the training and consulting requirements focus on group members and facilitators.
Review group members need to understand RCM well enough to follow the process of creating the Information and Decision Worksheets under the guidance of a facilitator. Although it may be possible for individuals to pick up the basic principles of RCM by reading a book, a short training course will prepare them better for a the environment of a real analysis meeting.
It is sometimes said that good RCM facilitators are grown, not trained. A facilitator needs a thorough technical appreciation of RCM, but he or she must also ensure that the review group makes progress in analysis meetings. Some of this expertise comes only with experience.
It is tempting to employ an external facilitator in order to move on with the analysis as quickly as possible. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with this approach to beginning a project, but you need to plan to transfer the skills into your organisation over time.
Consulting and “Mentoring”
Most RCM providers offer training, consulting and mentoring. The point of training is obvious: the best courses go well beyond what is available in textbooks, and give your group members and facilitators preparation for a real analysis meeting.
When you buy training from an external company, your goals and the trainer’s are well aligned. If the trainer does a good job, you will want to buy more training or recommend him or her to others. Unfortunately the same isn’t true with consulting and mentoring: the interests are now opposed, because the contractor only makes money while you remain dependent on his or her company.
If you want to make a success of your first RCM reviews, it is very likely that you will need help from someone with years of experience. Here is the important point. There are plenty of consultants who have read the book and facilitated a few analyses. There are far fewer who have successfully worked on large projects and who understand all the wrinkles and exceptions in the RCM process. Check your mentor’s references carefully; and when you find the right individual, make it your aim to be independent as soon as possible. Suck knowledge from them as fast as you can!