Using Maximo Work Order Hierarchies to Manage Projects

Mack Parrott, Projetech
November 28, 2023

Welcome to our new blog series, where we uncover the lesser-known capabilities of Maximo in managing unique processes.

In our inaugural post, we're diving into the use of work order hierarchies for efficient project management. This approach is also applicable to scenarios like outages or scheduled downtime events.


First, some fundamentals related to work order hierarchies in Maximo.

  • A work order hierarchy is a batch of work orders grouped in a parent-child relationship. They can be any number of levels deep.
  • Even though there is typically a common theme, there is no required relationship between locations, assets, or status of the work orders in the hierarchy.
  • For the children, you can choose whether they inherit the status changes of the parent.
  • Labor hours and costs, as do material and service costs, accumulate and roll up the hierarchy.
  • Work order hierarchies can be created in one of three ways in Maximo
    • On the plans tab of Work Order Tracking
    • From a PM Hierarchy
    • From the Create Work Package command on the list tab
Sample work orders grouped in a parent-child relationship

Sample use cases for work order hierarchies

    1. A construction project that is performed semi-frequently
      • Total costs are managed to budget
      • Multiple resources are involved that require planning and scheduling
      • The hierarchy can be duplicated on an as-needed basis (or set up as a zero-frequency PM hierarchy where you force-generate work orders as needed)
    2. An outage that involves multiple locations, assets, and crafts
      • Work order hierarchies bring definition and order to the project and enable efficient scheduling
      • The total outage costs are managed to budget
      • Plans versus actual costs can be measured at any level
      • The hierarchy can be exported to Maximo Scheduler for CPM scheduling
An example hierarchy as viewed in Maximo

Using work order tasks

Planning and recording labor and materials are typically done at the task level.

For greater independence between work orders and the hierarchy, you control

  • Whether child work orders inherit the status change the parent
  • Whether child work orders accept charges

The entire plan

It’s easy to see the entire plan of planned crafts, materials, services, and tools.

More Actions -> View -> Entire Plan

Estimated and actual material, service, and labor costs

Costs and labor hours roll up the hierarchy

More Actions --> View --> Costs to see Estimated and Actual hours and costs for the selected work order or the work package (total hierarchy)


The out-of-the-box Work Order Hierarchy report displays the hierarchy with a link to each work order.

More Actions -> Run Reports -> Work Order Hierarchy
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Mack Parrott, Projetech
November 28, 2023
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