How to Present AWP to Your Leadership

Often the biggest challenge in implementing Advanced Work Packaging is persuading leaders to give it a shot

Change is hard. People and organizations quickly become hidebound, unwilling or unable to change because of tradition or convention. “That’s the way we’ve always done it,” you might hear someone say. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Except that, in the case of capital projects, it is broke.

The vast majority of capital projects are late and over-budget, often to the tune of millions and even billions of dollars. Just because this is common, does not mean it is acceptable. The costs to stakeholders are real, whether they are citizens and taxpayers or investors and Owners.

The reality is that many of the strategies we use in capital projects today were developed when Ronald Regan was president, Bill Cosby was starring in the #1 show on TV, and The Bangles song Walk Like an Egyptian topped the Billboard 100. We’ve been trying those strategies for nearly 50 years, and they’re still not delivering projects on-time and on-budget. It’s time to try something new, and leaders know it.

In this article, I’ll talk about how you can help your organization make the leap to construction-driven capital project planning and execution using Advanced Work Packaging and Predictability Thinking®.

Understand Why Leadership is Asking about AWP

Perhaps you’re bringing AWP to leaders on your own initiative, or maybe you have been asked to present on AWP because you’ve had experience with the approach elsewhere, or taken training. Either way, how you frame your presentation has to take multiple factors into account, and the reason for the inquiry is chief among them. 

Find out if there is a new person in leadership, or if the competition is using AWP, or if the company is struggling and leaders are looking for opportunities to improve predictability. In some cases, AWP is used to mitigate risk when contractor relationships become strained, but other times it’s used to prevent the creation of silos in a rapidly-growing organization. You need to understand why your leaders are asking about AWP.

Understand How Much Leaders Really Know About AWP

It’s critical to understand how much your leadership knows about Advanced Work Packaging — don’t assume they know more than you do, especially if you’ve had training. Many leaders are buried in the day-to-day operations of their companies and they don’t have time to explore new ideas; they may have simply heard about AWP at an industry event or heard through the grapevine that the competition is using construction-driven planning. They might also be fully trained in AWP. Regardless, you should know who you’re talking to.

Four Considerations for Presenting AWP to Leadership

In this section I’ll run through four key elements to keep in mind as you prepare your presentation for leadership.

1 | Keep your presentation short.
Leaders don’t have time to waste, so get straight to the point. Keep in mind that you’re not giving a lecture or a training seminar, you’re telling them what they need to know about AWP so they can make a business decision. Keep it under five slides.

2 | Be knowledgeable.
Ideally you want to have your Concord Certified Advanced Work Packaging Professional® certification in-hand, so you can speak to leadership with confidence and authority. Read my new book, or explore the Velocity Quarterly AWP archives. Make sure you are delivering real value.

3 | Come with solutions.
Leaders don’t need you to reiterate the problems for them, they want you to come with solutions. Presumably they see AWP as a possible solution to existing problems, so focus on how construction-driven projects will change the way the company does business. Be prepared to defend your solution, and give leaders a road map to success.

4 | Have an ask.
Tell your leadership team what you want them to do. Do you need them to authorize a training budget or approve funding for a maturity assessment? Do you want approval to roll out AWP on a certain project, or money to purchase software? Leaders are in a decision-making role, so make sure you ask for something when you’ve got their attention.

Take the Next Step

At Concord, we partner with companies in the early states of AWP implementation to ensure a smooth transition from traditional project delivery systems. If you’re working with a company that fits this description, book a call with us today to discuss how we can help.

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