Achieving Scalable AWP in 5 Steps

Author – Andrew Foy

Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) used to be exclusively applied to large projects. These were the projects with a big budget, the time and capacity to adopt a new process, and where the potential for cost overruns and schedule delays would incur a heavy impact on the project outcomes. AWP was also a new process, with very few practitioners, and a lot of unknowns about practical implementation.

Fortunately, those days of exclusivity have now gone. A lot of thought and discussion has gone into making AWP more approachable and scalable, so that it can be used on smaller projects. The threshold for implementation and a successful return on investment has dropped significantly.

There are some key reasons for this:

A lot of the unknowns are gone. AWP is no longer a theoretical concept, applied to projects on a trial basis. It is now a well-understood practice, with a more standardized approach.

There are more practitioners in the market with experience of using AWP, which helps to drive it to a wider audience, and remove some of the apprehension associated with applying it for the first time.

The core tenets are better understood, with an appreciation of the fact that AWP really boils down to a planning process which gets all stakeholders aligned on a common strategy, which does not require mega-project funding.

And then of course, lastly, necessity. There are fewer mega projects being undertaken right now, so AWP had to adapt and become relevant to a wider range and a new audience.

There is also a growing understanding that AWP implementation does not need to be an “all or nothing” approach. It isn’t a set of a hundred hoops that you must jump through on a project in order to make the system work. Some organizations are choosing to adopt certain elements of AWP in the initial stages and grow into the full process as their maturity develops. So, for example, they can start with Workface Planning on a pilot project, learn their lessons from that, and then progress into the engineering stages on future projects.

The benefits of implementing AWP will generally grow in proportion to the extent of AWP being used on a project and the maturity of the organization implementing it. All of which means that AWP can be seen as a journey to be undertaken, and that there isn’t just one possible path to success.

So how can you make AWP work on smaller projects?

Firstly, set the right targets. Understand what problems you are trying to solve or what areas of improvement you are trying to address. Once you know that, you can design an implementation approach that supports that target.

Next, allocate the right resources. This doesn’t mean a team of people for every project. It can be as simple as one AWP Champion who oversees a number of small projects, setting up a consistent and repeatable process for the project team to follow, and then auditing adherence to that plan.

Use standard tools, templates, workflows and procedures to manage your AWP implementations. Don’t create it from scratch every time. Find a process that works for your company and lock it in. You can still do a continuous improvement cycle to incorporate lessons learned, but standardize as much as possible, and limit changes.

Track your implementations with consistent metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). This will ensure that each team is working to the same goal, and that you can see the performance of AWP on all the projects in your portfolio through the same lens.

Lastly, to support all of these elements, choose a robust AWP software platform to provide a solid foundation for your program. O3 is the market-leading scalable solution for AWP, which can meet you where you are on your AWP journey and support your continued development. The O3 platform is flexible enough to support whichever elements of AWP you are using, without overwhelming a small project team or needing an army of people to set up and maintain.

If you want to accelerate your AWP adoption process, and apply it to a portfolio of smaller projects, O3 is your perfect partner.

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