Everything you need to implement ThingWorx Navigate for PLM data

Build Project Team

To achieve your ThingWorx Navigate use case, build a team with both Windchill and ThingWorx experience. Explore the skills needed, and find them within your organization or through outside resources.


Before you begin, complete this step:

01. Identify skill sets needed

A typical project team includes the following roles. Titles may differ, and one person may play more than one role. A custom app might require other skills not mentioned here.

Project Sponsor: The project sponsor, a senior manager, leads the process to get approval of the project, scope, and budget. The sponsor is the project champion and is accountable for its success.

Skill sets needed:

  • Leadership
  • Cross-functional collaboration
  • Gaining project buy-in
  • Able to assess business use cases
  • Able to determine business value 

Project Manager: This role facilitates the planning and execution of the project to keep it on track. The project manager tends to be more involved in custom builds to monitor progress and manage dependencies, risks, and budget.

Skill set needed:

  • Common project manager skills: scheduling, tracking progress and costs
  • Meeting management
  • Communication and reporting skills
  • Familiar with Windchill 

Administrator: The Windchill administrator usually fills this role. PTC’s product documentation assumes the administrator has done a Windchill implementation. Some organizations add a dedicated ThingWorx Navigate administrator as they scale and expand usability.

Skill sets needed:

  • Knowledge of Windchill functionalities and features
  • Knowledge of Windchill users and processes
  • Knowledge of Windchill data schema
  • License management 
  • For out-of-the-box (OOTB) apps: ThingWorx Navigate installation, configuration, tailoring (admin training is available) 

IT Administrator: This role is responsible for infrastructure, network security, and authentication. If you implement single sign-on (SSO), your project will be smoother if the IT partner has done it before.

Skill sets needed:

  • Familiar with infrastructure costs and procurement
  • Hardware implementation and configuration
  • Understands data architecture including Windchill
  • System integration
  • Understands security requirements including certificates and current Windchill security
  • SSO configuration

Developers: You will need developer skills only if you’re building a custom app. A custom app requires ThingWorx developer skills and Windchill knowledge. System integrators can help fill some gaps.

Skill sets needed:

  • Experience gathering use requirements for the UX designer role
  • Familiar with UI/UX design principles
  • Familiar with ThingWorx app design and development (training is available)
  • Familiar with ThingWorx Navigate app development (training is available)
  • Understand ThingWorx platform
  • Understand Windchill functionalities
  • Understand Javascript
  • Understand REST API
  • Experience with testing and validation

UX/UI Designer: If you’re designing a custom app, a UX/UI designer will improve the look and feel of the application interface and make it easier to use.

Skill sets needed:

  • Proficient in CSS, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and/or Sketch
  • Familiar with user-centered design principles
  • Experience designing mobile, tablet, and desktop applications

Organizational Change Manager: Organizational change management is a critical but often overlooked role on ThingWorx Navigate teams. This work may be shared among several individuals or a team.

Skill sets needed:

  • Change management
  • Process change
  • Training
  • Communications 

Business Process Consultant: Although not critical, a business process consultant will help determine how to best intersect new technology with your business processes to improve efficiency and achieve your use case.

Skill sets needed:

  • Thorough understanding of your organization and specific business processes as they exist today
  • Experience with process modeling and the creation of future processes
  • Experience partnering with stakeholders to gather business requirements


02. Identify project stakeholders

Stakeholder support will be a key asset throughout your initiative. Cultivate buy-in at various levels of your organization, from high-level business leaders to frontline workers. These are our stakeholder suggestions, but you may have others depending on your use case and the structure of your organization.

Corporate Executives: Your most important stakeholder will be at the executive level. Identify a well-respected, well-connected executive who will advocate for your initiative on an ongoing basis. Engage executives in parts of the organization your use case will benefit, for example manufacturing or procurement.

End Users: ThingWorx Navigate will put PLM information in the hands of people who don’t use Windchill currently, typically because of its complexity. Identify the existing and new Windchill users. New end users may be in manufacturing, purchasing, marketing, sales, supply chain, customer support, or other groups. Additional product designers and engineers may also use the app.

To ensure the app gets used and delivers value, involve representatives of major end user groups throughout the project. Their insights will improve experience design, documentation, training, and change management. Also, talk with those who currently spend a lot of time pulling reports for others, such as engineers.

If you are developing a custom app, you’ll need end users to test the app in the real world. Identify a group of workers who can test and provide feedback on early-stage app designs. These workers should represent your ideal end users. They’ll help you identify urgent fixes and opportunities for improvement before you implement ThingWorx Navigate on a larger scale.

Long-term Support Team: Identify the IT support staff who will manage and support the app after it goes live. This team will fix bugs, do upgrades, and provide users with tech support. The long-term support team is important to the success of the software and your return on investment. Involve them early and plan for training, documentation, and a smooth handoff.

03. Request time for the team and fill skill gaps

Find out whether your organization employs people who have the skill sets you need. If so, ask whether they can contribute to the project. Get manager approval if needed. Usually the project sponsor assembles the team, working with the project manager if one has been identified at this point.

The project team can do most work remotely. If possible, members should be on site to gather requirements and at go live.

Organizations that build a custom ThingWorx Navigate app often hire contractors or consultants to bridge skill gaps and achieve their use case. Verify that outside resources you hire have the right skills and experience to meet your project goals.

If you purchased a Success Plan from PTC, talk with your Customer Success Manager to ensure you have the right mix of resources on your team. If you don’t have a Success Plan, contact your sales representative.

Recommended Resources

04. Kick off your project

Schedule a team kickoff meeting led by the project manager to introduce the project, roles, and next steps.

The team will first finish planning the project and get it approved. IT will work on compliance and security. Others will identify costs and determine licensing needs. The project manager will facilitate team meetings, set up the timeline, and create a communications plan for project stakeholders.


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