Why Certification Matters

Capital project professionals do unique, skilled, valuable work. Certification is long overdue, writes Olfa Hamdi

Capital project management has come of age. The remarkable people who plan, design and build modern capital projects are highly skilled professionals who use sophisticated systems and technology to construct buildings that transform landscapes and impact millions of people. The global move toward certification is an empowering, optimistic development that acknowledges existing skills, standardizes training, and lays the groundwork for continued evolution in this critically important field. 

In a time of unprecedented economic upheaval and global uncertainty, certification matters more than ever. Here’s why.

1 | Purpose-Built Training

For too long, capital project professionals borrowed training and certification from other industries. In the absence of clear standards, they cobbled together education from associations, mentors and related fields. We know these tools and systems don’t fully meet the needs of capital project organizations, because nine out of ten megaprojects are late or over-budget. 

With purpose-built training programs and certification, we can support capital project professionals in mastering ideas and tools that meet their unique needs. We can teach Predictability Thinking™, Advanced Work Packaging, Workface Planning and other emerging best practices that will help them deliver on-time and on-budget. 

2| A Trusted Career Pathway

Capital project professionals do unique, skilled, valuable work. For established professionals, certification offers an acknowledgement of their proven expertise. For those just entering the profession, it offers a trusted career pathway: comprehensive, structured training and certification in areas of key competence. Doctors, lawyers and engineers have been doing this for more than a century. It’s time for capital project professionals to join them.

Which capital project professionals am I talking about? It’s not just the project manager who needs specific training. On large projects, people leading project controls, engineering, procurement and construction management need to be fully versed in core project competencies, as do the field supervisors. If we’re going to achieve more predictable outcomes, everybody needs to speak the same language.

3 | A Framework for Continuous Improvement

At Concord we believe Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) currently offers the best foundation for a capital project education. AWP provides an elegant, effective and comprehensive system for linking the work of all those who contribute to capital projects, regardless of size or scope. From Predictability Thinking™ and front-end definition to Workface Planning and field execution, AWP provides definitions, standards and a flexible structure for capital projects. Capital project professionals who understand AWP know what it takes to deliver on-time and on-budget. 

Of course, this will change. In the decades to come, smart people will develop new paradigms and technologies that change the way we build capital projects. An established training and certification program offers a framework for both evaluating and introducing new concepts and tools to students and working professionals. Capital project organizations can rely on Concord Academy, as the certifying organization, to stay on top of developments and integrate proven tools into the curriculum.

4 | Independent, test-based assurance

Independent, test-based certification is essential because it provides assurance that individuals have mastered the core concepts and can be trusted to apply them effectively in the workplace. Independent certification means that the training and testing has been completed by a third-party organization. It offers standardized, consistent training in fundamentals, and confers a level of unmatched integrity on the process. Companies can outsource foundational training and focus their own resources on training around proprietary services. 

Independent certification vs. in-house training 

It’s worth noting here that in-house training comes with hidden pitfalls that snare many well-intentioned organizations. While independent organizations like Concord must remain focused on developing knowledge at the industry level in order to remain competitive, in-house training teams risk becoming inward-looking and mired in internal politics. In addition, when it comes to building this type of high-level training, your in-house training team can’t do it on their own, and you’ll have to pull your best people off their projects to consult. I’d argue that’s not the best use of your top resources.

Concord was built by capital project professionals who became experts in research, development and training. We’re specialists in disseminating practical, effective, foundational training for capital project professionals. If your goal is to certify the acquisition of Advanced Work Packaging fundamentals for your people, and to ensure that they have the knowledge required to implement through the entire lifecycle of a capital project, contact us today. 

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