Top Considerations When Selecting a Pilot Project

The Top Eight Considerations for an AWP Pilot Project

Most companies will start on their Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) journey by selecting a single project on which to trial the process. Choosing an effective pilot project will greatly increase the chances of positive results. In this article, we will consider the top eight elements to consider when kicking off your AWP pilot.

1) People
Implementing any new process requires change, and different people react to change differently. When choosing a pilot project, don’t just consider the characteristics of the project itself. Consider the project team, and how receptive they will be to new ideas and new processes. If you win over that first team and execute a successful AWP pilot, other project teams will quickly follow suit.

2) Timing
AWP is not Advanced when you start it a week before construction. That is Workface Planning (WFP), and while implementing WFP has value, if you wait that long you have already missed out on many of the benefits available from doing AWP. Pick a project that is early in its lifecycle, where your construction input can have a meaningful impact on the engineering sequence, and will not cause a huge amount of rework to implement.

3) Willing Contractor
Many contractors (both Engineering and Construction) will nod their heads sagely when an Owner asks about AWP. But it is important to distinguish between those who will do it because they are being forced to, and those who will embrace it willingly. The former will always look for ways to minimize its use and effectiveness, while the latter will typically seek maximum value and benefit.

4) Executive Support (Sponsor)
As an AWP Champion, you need to be empowered to implement AWP on a pilot project, or within an organization. Your job will be made much easier if you have executive support. When rolling out AWP on your pilot project, make sure that you have a Project Sponsor or Executive Sponsor who will endorse AWP with the project team, so they know that it is not just you pushing for its success.

5) Clear Definition of Success
At the end of a pilot project, you will need to assess whether or not AWP implementation was a success. To do this, you need to agree what the criteria for success will be. Set targets at the beginning of the project, and have those targets endorsed by Senior Management. Make sure that the targets you are setting, such as improvements in productivity or safety, align with the stated goals of your AWP implementation. And, most critically for a pilot project, keep the goals realistic and attainable.

6) Technology Platform & Champion
To implement AWP quickly and effectively you will need technology and a champion to support it. Modern construction projects are too complex to be carried out using pen and paper, or Excel spreadsheets. AWP and WFP capabilities are greatly enhanced with the right supporting tool, which can maximize the value of the existing project data and empower your Workface Planners to greater efficiency. Make sure you have the right person to oversee the AWP implementation – both in terms of technology and process. AWP Champion should not be a part-time role for someone.

7) Project with Sufficient Complexity
This is all about finding a good middle ground. You don’t want to overwhelm your AWP pilot by picking a huge project with a lot of complexity. Equally, you won’t want one that is so simple that you struggle to see the benefits of AWP. Find a project that aligns to your goals, has a reasonable number of stakeholders and a manageable number of interfaces. Then you can expand for future projects.

8) Project of Sufficient Length
Lastly, consider a pilot project as a learning curve. You want a project that can deliver excellent feedback which will allow you to refine your AWP process and then roll it out successfully to your other projects. To do this, you don’t want a project that is so short that you don’t have time to learn anything from the implementation, and you also want to avoid the five year mega projects that will take too long to get meaningful results from. Look for a solid middle ground.

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