An Introduction to the Site-Based Capital Project Improvement Process

How to dramatically improve cost and schedule predictability on small, site-based capital projects

In this article I’m going to talk about how we apply Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) and Predictability Thinking™ to small, site-based capital projects. These types of projects take place at all kinds of capital installations, from refineries and petrochemical establishments to energy and water desalination plants. They also have all kinds of drivers: Owners may want to extend capacity, enhance a process, or comply with evolving regulations. Total installed cost (TIC) ranges from $200,000 to over $100 million, though most fall under the $50 million mark.

When we work with clients on a site-based capital project improvement process, our goal — as always — is to create the conditions for a capital project team to deliver safely,  on-time and on-budget. Let’s get started. 


The Challenge

Site-based projects are typically managed by the Owner team and executed by contractors who are already a part of the site environment. While small, these projects have a great deal in common with larger capital projects: they have similar contract and resourcing needs, they require highly skilled talent, and they are usually managed through the standard stage-gate process. Despite these similarities, however, many site-based projects don’t get the same attention as big projects, and the teams charged with executing this important work tend to be both understaffed and overstretched, with significant consequences for portfolio predictability.

Concord® initially focused  on working with small, site-based projects because we identified the absence of a solid, standard way of approaching these critical initiatives and ensuring their success. We also identified a huge need going unserved. We continue working on these smaller projects because by helping companies apply AWP and Predictability Thinking™ to smaller, site-based projects, we can help them see quick results — sometimes, within the year. This is highly rewarding work for us, and the companies who work with us enjoy benefits across the board. 


The Approach

Our approach to the site-based capital project improvement process is unique. We begin with empowering your people on site from leadership to the field, then develop a custom-built Predictability Blueprint ™ for your site, and finally lay out the site’s Journey to achieving outcome predictability on its portfolio. Here’s what that looks like in practice.


Step 1: Empowering Teams

When we work with clients on a site-based capital project improvement process, we always start with training and coaching. We train directors, leaders and managers in AWP and Predictability Thinking™ and then take them through a series of innovation workshops, during which we assess the site, understand how it fits into the corporate structure, and decide together where they want to go. 


Our clients report an increase in schedule predictability, a reduction in the number of late changes, and a significant improvement in labor productivity on-site. 

This process yields different results for every company. In some cases, the goal will be to deliver more consistently on site-based projects. In other cases, the goal will be to improve productivity, or reduce costs. Regardless of the outcome, teams emerge from this process with a comprehensive understanding of the set of new tools and skills needed, and clarity around how and where to apply them.


Step 2: The Predictability Blueprint™

With this solid foundation in place, we move to developing a Predictability Blueprint.™ Concord® brings a suite of research deliverables to the table, including a benchmarking study of past performance, qualitative and quantitative evaluations, and a comprehensive maturity assessment. With these in hand, we work collaboratively with your team to identify key predictability drivers and determine the most effective path to achieving your goals. The outcome of step 2 is a custom-built Predictability Blueprint ™ developed on Concord®’s proprietary framework yet uniquely defined for the site. The Predictability Blueprint ™ for your site is the equivalent of the GPS that will inform everyone on your site all the time about the various multidisciplinary aspects of your transformation journey.


Step 3: Your Predictability Journey™

The Predictability Journey™ is the set of proprietary support services that Concord® brings to your site. We provide tools, guidance and coaching to support, integrate and empower. We work directly with leadership — project leadership, construction management, contractors and subcontractors — to get them on board in delivering the key objectives of the Predictability Blueprint™. We are your champions for change.

Our goal is not to create dependence, but rather to get your team to own the Predictability Journey™ and execute independently. We want to empower your team to deliver predictable projects.

Achieving on-time, on-budget project delivery is a process, and it takes time. For most of our clients this is a multi-year journey, however Concord®’s involvement never exceeds two years. 



Concord®’s site-based capital projects improvement process dramatically improves the cycle time of projects. Our clients report an increase in schedule predictability, a reduction in the number of late changes, and a significant improvement in labor productivity on-site. 

If you’re interested in empowering your team and making sustainable change, contact us today.

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