I remember a song from my teenage years that included a line saying “You don’t have to have the solution, you just have to understand the problem”. It was a catchy tune, but that line didn’t make a lot of sense to me at the time. I guess I have an engineer’s brain – always looking for the solution.
The reason for this strange walk down memory lane is because that line has replayed in my head many times over the years, and has become more and more relevant throughout my career. Capital projects, especially when you get into the Construction phase, tend to be full of people focused on the solution. That’s not a bad thing, but it can limit some of the “Advanced” parts of what Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) is meant to deliver.
When we talk about the value scenario of AWP, the question we are really trying to answer is why. More specifically, we are asking “Why do we need to do AWP on this project?”.
In order for there to be value, there needs to benefit. And in order for there to be a benefit for doing something new, it has to be an improvement over our current methods.
The first stumbling block that we often see when having these discussions is the “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” folks. These are the ones who, if asked to self-assess, would give their current methods and processes five out of five. “We are great at what we do and don’t need to improve”. It can be very difficult to get around this roadblock, and will usually involve either going over their heads to get some sort of Senior Management mandate, or getting them to recognize that the changes you are proposing will be forced on them by clients as a condition of the contract, so they need to get on board.
Essentially, if you can’t identify what is wrong or needs improvement, it is nearly impossible to make a plan to fix it. So start with the problem. What do you want to solve? What results do you want to see? Once you know that, you can work on a plan to get there.
This is where AWP would come in. There are different ways to implement it, depending on what you are trying to achieve. So tailor your implementation to your goals, and make sure that the targets you set are going to be realistic. To do this effectively, you will need to understand the various elements of AWP and what they can provide to the project. The ‘AWP Maturity Level Benefits Tool’ from CII will be an easy reference guide for the various levels of AWP implementation and the benefits that they will bring.
Typically, we see organizations start their AWP journey at Category B, implementing just Workface Planning. They are trying to fix field issues in the field.
Then they move onto basic AWP (Category C), starting to pull the planning effort into the engineering stages and aligning Engineering and Procurement deliverables with the Path of Construction.
The culmination of the process is to get to full AWP (Category D), where every aspect of project delivery is included in the AWP process, from early engineering all the way to commissioning and completions.
Remember that AWP is a journey and that the value scenario can change over time. Consider your first implementation as step one. Use it to address your most immediate and pressing execution issues or risks, and then expand from there. Once you start seeing improvement it will be easier and easier to convince your management and your project teams to increase your AWP scope into new areas and project phases.