4 Advanced Work Packaging Myths Debunked

Learn to recognize the toxic myths that will undermine your efforts to adopt and benefit from Advanced Work Packaging

One of the major challenges in Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) education is the debunking of miseducation. We spend a lot of our time with clients identifying and correcting myths about AWP because they undermine learning, application and success. This article aims to clear up some commonly held misconceptions about AWP in the field of capital project management. 

Myth 1: AWP Competes with PMP

You don’t need to give up the PMI standard when you adopt Advanced Work Packaging. When you adopt AWP you’ll continue to need Project Management Professionals for the same reason you need them now: because they understand the basic requirements for effectively managing a project. What PMI doesn’t provide — and AWP does — is a comprehensive, construction-driven approach to managing complex industrial projects. AWP informs and directs the work of the PMP, but does not replace it. When someone tries to persuade you that PMP is the same thing as AWP, remember: If the PMI standard was sufficient for delivering capital projects on-time and on-budget, AWP would never have been invented and all capital projects would have been delivered successfully and there would not be a problem to solve in the first place!

Myth 2: There Is No Proof That AWP Works

Critics who promote this myth claim that the benefits of Advanced Work Packaging are unproven, and the enthusiasm around this promising new approach is just unsubstantiated hype. They point to the absence of academic research and say there is no hard evidence that it helps organizations deliver projects on-time and on-budget. 

We say the proof is in the pudding. Major capital project organizations, including NASA, now use Advanced Work Packaging because it offers a rational, transparent process for upgrading a company’s ability to deliver projects. Industry leaders from around the world have recognized the value of moving to a construction-driven approach, and are actively working to apply and expand AWP principles. It is also worth noting that AWP was borne out of frustration with the failure of existing models of capital project management, which consistently deliver projects late and over-budget. We trust practitioners. 

In short: If you tell me you tried AWP and it didn’t work, I would ask about how you implemented AWP and what you did. I’m willing to bet the problem lay not in the recipe, but in the way the cooking has been conducted.

Myth 3: AWP is Too Good To Be True

Have you heard of the straw man fallacy? It’s a nasty tactic that people use to win arguments. First, they mischaracterize the claim. Then they argue against their mischaracterization. In this case, they say advocates like Concord® are claiming that Advanced Work Packaging will “solve all our problems.” Then they argue that it’s “too good to be true.” 

To be clear, nobody is claiming that Advanced Work Packaging is a panacea for everything that ails modern capital projects. It will not solve all your problems. What it is, however, is the most promising advancement in capital project management thinking in a generation. Like any new idea, the benefits you realize will depend on your resources, training, organizational maturity and ability to manage transformational change, along with a myriad of other factors too numerous to list here. It will take time to get it right, yes, but organizations that don’t try will be left behind. The truth is it’s too good not to try

Let’s light this straw man on fire once and for all, and get on with the business of transforming capital project organizations. 

Myth 4: Only a Few People on the Team Need AWP Certification

This common myth is a key reason why most organizations struggle with Advanced Work Packaging implementation. Your AWP Champion cannot single-handedly lead a wholesale transformation of your organization, neither can a construction manager and or a lone executive. 

Moving to a construction-driven mindset is a significant paradigm shift for most capital project professionals, and the shift to AWP will impact every role in the organization to some degree. By training your entire team in the principles and application of AWP, you ensure that everyone on your crew is rowing in the same direction. 

These four myths can undermine even the best intentions for Advanced Work Packaging implementation. If you’re ready to move beyond the myths to a construction-driven approach that delivers projects on-time and on-budget, the Concord® team is standing by to help. Contact us today!

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