The Next Level: Practical Steps To Smarter Advanced Work Packaging

Practical Steps To Smarter Advanced Work Packaging

Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) thoughts and recommendations from industry leaders are compiled in this article.

Start early.

The implementation of AWP has to start early. Begin with sufficient construction planning and lay out the sequence of construction, so that it can be communicated early in the project. This way, you can ensure that engineering, procurement and other aspects of the project support the overall plan.


Use AWP to drive alignment from the office to the field.

Construction Work Packages (CWPs) can successfully establish shared nomenclatures between engineers and construction leaders, and can also establish strong execution sequences. CWPs have to remain fairly stable throughout the project lifecycle, even as adjustments are made. The key element is “really knowing where you’re at, and what you’ve packaged, and what you’ve completed.”


Put an end to the ‘hero culture.’

Invest in early planning. As one experienced industry leader says: “The more you plan at the beginning, the less likely it is that a hero will have to swoop in at the end and ‘save’ the project. These project heroes are usually construction managers and their efforts to bring the project home are expensive. Bring them in at the beginning, instead.”


Reconsider your reward structures.

One of the most significant challenges facing AWP practitioners is ineffective, deeply entrenched reward structures. Craft labor and other construction workers are accustomed to projects where they earn significant overtime and will quickly move to another project that pays more. Changing this culture is very difficult, but must be done to ensure performance improvements.


Measure performance against the plan, not the cost.

Historically, construction companies have measured productivity by putting time against cost codes, creating unintentional consequences. Measuring performance against the plan and not the cost is more effective. 


Freeze IWPs No Less Than 3 Weeks Before Execution.

Freeze your Installation Work Packages (IWPs) early, and clear your constraints. Start by construction work packages (CWPs) first, because they need to drive the engineering work packages (EWPs) and the procurement work packages (PWPs). IWP development starts 90 to 120 days prior to the planned work, and then they’re validated and frozen no less than three weeks prior to that execution of work.


Hire AWP Champions.

An AWP champion is someone who makes sure AWP is well implemented and gets alignment across the organization. An AWP champion is also accountable for the success of the implementation. Make sure you have champions for both in engineering and on the construction operation sides. 

Decide whether your AWP efforts need to fall into the project controls department and be independent. This depends on how sophisticated and busy is your project controls department. 


Adapt when technology is limited.

Technology and toolsets that support AWP are still missing. The systems that currently exist are limited, and interoperability remains a challenge.

As described by industry experts, most commercial solutions are in essence replaceable by Excel templates. The ability to leverage the technologies, and get the technologies to work together, isn’t good enough yet. 

Consider the use of an integration system, such as the T-CON platform, to build customized, yet standards-driven AWP management environment. 


Support universal AWP standards, and avoid in-house technical solutions.

When you develop something in-house, it starts out as a tool and becomes overhead. So, it tends to fall behind the technology’s state of the art, sometimes fairly rapidly. 


Press for the development of scalable, configurable environments.

Many industry leaders are urging innovators to leverage the work that has been done in other industries to find scalable, configurable environments for capital projects and Advanced Work Packaging. The next generation of technology shouldn’t just support individual project execution, but should allow companies to learn from their experiences. 


Consider running alignment workshops across project data sets.

Alignment workshops to look at all of your company’s core systems are powerful practices to get better alignment. These alignment workshops define very attribute, and identify commonalities, with a view to data correlations down the road.


Leverage these to take your organization to the next level. 

In a rapidly evolving field, the industry’s best project managers must be committed to learning from one another. Velocity®’s ongoing series of interviews with leaders in the field is a part of our commitment to building a strong and vibrant community of capital project managers.

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