How To Get Started With Site-Based Advanced Work Packaging

From discovery to rollout to change management, here’s what you need to know to get started with site-based AWP today


Most site-based capital project leaders recognize the benefits of Advanced Work Packaging for their projects. Regardless of whether global or corporate offices are on board, they know they’re responsible for improving performance and they know that AWP is the way to do it. But changing the way you work can be daunting, especially when there are millions of dollars on the line.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of adopting AWP for site-based projects, you’re not alone. At Concord®, we’re fortunate to work on site-based capital projects with some of the world’s top companies, and even these remarkable organizations face challenges when adopting new processes and technologies.

It can be done, and we can show you how. In this article, we’ll share some of what we’ve learned about how to get started implementing Advanced Work Packaging on site-based capital projects.


Step 1 | Host A Discovery Session 

Does this seem obvious? It’s not. Leaders too often forget that people need time to get comfortable with new ideas. A free lunch with a short presentation is a low-key way to introduce new work concepts and emerging best practices. A webinar or afternoon meeting can work, too.

A simple discovery session like this gives your entire team an opportunity to digest and discuss, and your leaders and high-performers, in particular, will thank you for giving them an opportunity to explore these new ideas themselves before they’re asked to get on board.

Who conducts this session? If you’ve got a respected internal advocate, that’s a great place to start. Make sure they have some training or send them to a conference or off-site seminar to get some. Then let them talk their peers into exploring something new. Another great option is to bring in an Advanced Work Packaging expert to conduct the discovery session and answer questions. Better yet, do both.

The key objective: Help your people understand what AWP is and how it’s transforming the capital projects industry. Give them some time to get comfortable with the idea.


Step 2 | Train Your Team

Next up: Introductory Training. On a small site, hold an Advanced Work Packaging training with project managers, engineers and construction leads. On a larger site, identify a pilot project and train only the project managers, engineers and construction leads who will work on the pilot.


Step 3 | Give Your Pilot Everything It Needs To Succeed

This seems self-evident, but experience has taught us that it’s not. Too often, leaders assume that smart people and a green light are enough to transform decades of entrenched work processes. It’s not nearly enough.

You absolutely must work to create the conditions for success by providing your pilot team with all the resources and support they need. You cannot expect them to work in the old environment and succeed. If they ask for new project management software, faster computers, more people — give it to them. Do it.

Why? Your pilot is building the workflows and templates that will form the backbone of your site-wide AWP implementation, and that alone is worth the investment. After all, you want those systems to be bulletproof before they’re shared and replicated. Equally important, in our experience, is that your pilot sets the tone for how AWP is implemented on your site. If your pilot team has a positive experience — and if they share that experience with their colleagues — your rollout will be far more effective.


The sum of your pilot projects does not equal transformation.


Step 4 | Rollout

After your pilot has been operating successfully for a year or so, choose up to six projects that will adopt AWP next. Gather the key players from these new projects and do what we here at Concord® call a Rollout Training.

A Rollout Training is critically different than an Introductory Training because you’re presenting Advanced Work Packaging as an established process that has been created by and for your company, leveraging industry best practices. The AWP protocols and processes that you share in your rollout training will be based on the first pilot experience and presented as a workflow that is “owned” by — and unique to — your company.

This is important because, in order for Advanced Work Packaging to be transformative, it has to become part of the business process of the site — it can’t be externalized. If you are working with an outside company to pilot AWP, be sure that you choose one that is committed to building and maturing your site capabilities, so that when they’re finished, you can continue on your own without any additional support.


Step 5 | Manage The Change

The sum of your pilot projects does not equal transformation. Once you get to your second wave rollout, you’ll need to support the transition to AWP with a sophisticated, company-wide change management effort. This effort includes everything from contract restructuring and technology purchases to implementing effective knowledge management and handling cultural resistance.

This final phase of your transition to AWP is perhaps the most critical. It’s not enough to have people who know how to do AWP or projects that are applying the AWP methodology. In order for Advanced Work Packaging to work effectively in the long term, the company as a whole has to operate in support of the methodology. Your investment in site-based change management services may be the best investment you make this decade.

The most important piece of advice we can give you is this: start today. The process of starting AWP on your site-based projects may be daunting, but it is the way of the future. There will never be a perfect time. Take the leap now, benefit from the first-mover advantage, and position your operation for success.

Share This Post