What’s Next? A Guide to Every Stage of Your AWP Implementation Journey

Your next best step depends on where you’ve been, and where you’re headed. Here are some guideposts along the way.

The road to Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) implementation can be a bumpy one. Many organizations struggle to get started, and the first attempt is often plagued by confusion, conflict and delay. Companies that persevere and get a few construction-driven projects under their belts enter a new and equally challenging territory — the messy middle. According to Kanter’s Law, after all, change is often hardest in the middle. And let’s be honest: most of us are still in the messy middle. 

What is your next step? What can you do today to lay the foundation for a more successful construction-driven project next time around? In this article, I’ll give you some practical, concrete action steps you can take based on your current level of maturity — steps that have worked for our clients and hundreds of capital project professionals, all over the world. 


If it’s your first time trying Advanced Work Packaging

This is the most important advice I give all our clients: get trained. No matter how long you’ve been in the capital projects industry, no matter how many successful projects your company has delivered, no matter how many countries you’re working in or how many billions your organization made last year — get trained. No matter how much you think you know about AWP — get trained. Training is the foundation of Advanced Work Packaging success, full stop. 

When I say this, critics often point to the fact that I have a vested interest in offering this advice: Concord® established the world’s first self-directed, self-paced online education portal for capital project professionals, and the first certification program, too. While that’s true, it’s also backward. Concord® started life as a technology and consulting business, and in that work we routinely witnessed the devastating impact of insufficient AWP training: staggering delays, millions wasted, depleted teams, angry Owners, and even failed projects. I founded the Concord® Academy to address those issues for our clients, and now that we’ve trained more than 1,500 people worldwide, we know that training makes a big difference. Click here for an easy-to-read guide to our certification programs. 

No matter how much you think you know about Advanced Work Packaging, get trained.

In addition to paid training and certification, Concord® also offers plenty of free learning options for those just getting started. The Concord® website hosts an archive of over 150 articles about AWP, including a comprehensive series on Advanced Work Packaging Fundamentals. We also offer regular, free webinars, many of which are posted on our website for on-demand viewing. Subscribe to Velocity® to hear about new webinars and articles, and visit tconglobal.com and use the search function to find what you’re looking for. 

Once you and your team are trained, we recommend an AWP Readiness Assessment.™ This one-day, collaborative, self-ranking tool helps you evaluate the current work environment to see if your organization is ready to pilot AWP. You’ll leave with a set of recommendations to lay the groundwork for a successful AWP implementation, kind of like preparing the soil in a garden before planting. When you’re ready to plant, we are standing by to help with our AWP Start Up™ Package, designed to get your company up and running with AWP in just three months.

If you’re plowing through the messy middle

What is the messy middle? You’ve officially applied Advanced Work Packaging on a project — or maybe a few — and you’re seeing some quick wins, but you’re also experiencing challenges. Many of our clients engage us while they’re in the messy middle, because they can see the power of AWP but the company systems are straining under the pressure of change. Success feels fragile.

When you’re in the messy middle, keep your eye on the prize: transformation. I often say that a successful pilot project — or two, or even three — does not equal a company-wide transformation. When you’re in the messy middle, you need to recommit to construction-driven planning and double-down on your investment. This will help you keep what you’ve built, and begin the hard work of total transformation. 


When you’re in the messy middle, you need to recommit to construction-driven planning and double-down on your investment.

First, do a SWOT analysis of your AWP implementation: look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. If you identify change management as a key weakness (many of our clients do) consider change management coaching (we can help). If you’re still missing deadlines, which is common, consider getting your leaders trained in Predictability Thinking™. If you’re seeing poor results from your AWP implementations, consider a Project Predictability Package™, which gives you step-by-step support through an entire AWP project. Regardless of what you find in your SWOT analysis, the key is to identify a solution and implement, again and again. Just keep getting better, until you’ve got AWP mastered.  

If you’re nearing maturity and it’s smooth sailing

If you’ve mastered AWP, call me — I have some things to learn from you! The truth is, I don’t know of any capital project organizations that have reached the “smooth sailing” level of implementation. Remember, the seeds for Advanced Work Packaging were only sowed in the early 2000s, and the construction-driven projects movement is still in its infancy.  Still, what would this phase look like? How will we know when we’ve achieved it? Fundamentally, full transformation is about a core paradigm shift from engineering-driven capital projects to construction-driven capital projects. When the transformation is complete, your organization, your systems and your people will approach every project from a construction-driven perspective, and all work will be aligned around the needs of construction.

Like TPS at Toyota or Six Sigma at General Electric, the companies that get AWP right will benefit from a blockbuster competitive advantage until everyone else catches up.

Once you’ve reached this phase, you’ll need to focus on refining your systems to yield even better results over time. Predictability Thinking™ training is a natural fit here, and we can help you better understand your operation with our new AWP Blueprint, which connects all the pieces of your project delivery system in one place. Ongoing coaching may be beneficial as well. 

Like TPS at Toyota or Six Sigma at General Electric, the companies that get AWP right will benefit from a blockbuster competitive advantage until everyone else catches up. If you’re one of them, my hat goes off to you. 

Are you looking for support in implementing Advanced Work Packaging? Contact us today!

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