The Gemini Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics System (GeMS) began its on-sky commissioning in January 2011. The system provides high order wide-field corrections using a constellation of five Laser Guide Stars. In December 2011, commissioning culminated in images with a FWHM of 80±2mas at 1.65 microns (H band) over an 87x87 arcsecond field of view. The first images have already demonstrated the scientific potential of GeMS, and after more than a year of commissioning GeMS is finally close to completion and ready for science. This paper presents a general status of the GeMS project and summarizes the achievements made during more than a year of commissioning. The characterization of GeMS performance is presented in a companion paper: "GeMS on-sky results", Rigaut et al.1 Here we report on the sub-systems' performance, discuss current limitations and present proposed upgrades. The integration of GeMS into the observatory operational scheme is detailed. Finally, we present the plans for next year's operations with GeMS.