Transforming the Industry: Making the Case for AWP as a Standard (Best) Practice

RT-319 Topic Summary
RT 319


RT-319 was chartered to make the case for Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) as a CII Best Practice, to extend and validate the findings of RT-272, Advanced Work Packaging. AWP is a disciplined approach to project planning and execution to increase project performance and predictability.

The primary objectives of RT-319 were to validate the performance success of the AWP execution model and thereby make the case for AWP becoming a standard (best) practice for the industry. Specifically, the team pursued the following two research goals:

  1. Evaluate the relationship between AWP implementation and various dimensions of project performance.
  2. Identify typical AWP implementation pathways and levels of AWP maturity.

A key conclusion of the research supports further investment in AWP and makes a compelling case for further adoption by the industry:

  • Even projects with low maturity of AWP implementation garner significant benefits.
  • At the same time, benefits increase as AWP implementation matures.

AWP holds the promise of fundamentally transforming the capital project delivery process by providing benefits shown below. Case study results showed a strong relationship between AWP assessment and higher project performance, compared to traditional planning and execution processes.

  • Up to 25% increase in field productivity
  • Up to 10% decreases in total installed cost (TIC), with increased savings for owners and increased profitability for contractors 

  • Improved schedule performance, with projects delivered on schedule 

  • Improved safety performance, with zero lost time accident records 

  • Increased quality, with reduced construction rework 

  • Increased predictability, in terms of cost and schedule estimates

As a result of the efforts of RT-319, Advanced Work Packaging was promoted as a CII Best Practice in November 2015.

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : AWP Implementation Framework

When properly implemented, AWP supports substantial project performance improvement. AWP implementation depends on the accomplishments of three prerequisites during the implementation process: (RS319-1, p. 7)

  1. Process adherence to prescribed AWP guidelines
  2. Organizational alignment within the project management team on AWP deliverables
  3. Contract integration of AWP procedures among key project participants
Reference: (RS319-1)

2 : AWP Maturity Model

Prior research by RT-272 conceptualized three incremental levels of AWP implementation maturity, and the Maturity Model characterizes these stages in terms of work processes and required capabilities, recommending a stepwise progression through the levels to achieve full AWP benefits. (RS319-1, p. 21)

  1. AWP Early Stages
  2. AWP Effectiveness
  3. AWP Business Transformation
Reference: (RS319-1)

3 : AWP Early Stages

Companies have introduced AWP for the first time, possibly on a pilot project. Companies have adopted prescribed guidelines and procedures, either to test their effectiveness for limited portions of the project or to fulfill a stakeholder requirement to adopt AWP. A potential barrier at this stage is top management commitment, so a key point is that AWP adoption is initially a top-down process that is expected to generate aversion to change.  (RS319-1, p. 28)
Reference: (RS319-1)

4 : AWP Effectiveness

AWP becomes part of the project strategy at this stage of maturity, including part of major stakeholder’s contracts, aligning payment and control activities with the various engineering and construction deliverables. Companies achieve major performance improvements, consistently bringing down budget and schedule estimates.
(RS3109-1, p. 29)
Reference: (RS319-1)

5 : AWP Business Transformation

Organizations within this group have acquired substantial AWP maturity and have mastered and implemented AWP procedures across multiple projects at once. For example, organizations as this level of maturity have: (RS319-1, p. 30)

  • Project Setup and Execution – Written practices and procedures, change management systems, engineering and construction work packages, scheduling, and progress measurement are all in-place.
  • Construction Focused – Well thought out CWP (construction work plan), materials delivery dates integrated into schedule, and effective construction input during FEP are all in-place.
  • Integrated Date Systems – Statusing systems, constraint analysis, checkout and startup practices, and IWP (installation work packages) are all in-place.
Reference: (RS319-1)

6 : AWP Lessons Learned

RT-319 developed a list of AWP lessons learned (IR319-2, p. 22). The five most frequently occurring AWP lessons learned are:

  1. Include AWP in contracts
  2. Involve key project participants early on in the project
  3. Fully adhere and commit to prescribed guidelines and procedures
  4. Use IT integration
  5. Structure IWPs by discipline
Reference: (IR319-2)

7 : Implementation Tool #1

IR319-2, Validating Advanced Work Packaging as a Best Practice

This resource presents detailed descriptions of AWP adoptions at various levels of maturity and within different project contexts. These are provided to support any organizations planning their own implementations and as a supplement to the detailed guidance in IR272-2.
Reference: (IR319-2)

Key Performance Indicators

Reduced/improved risk, Improved craft productivity, Improved safety, Improved productivity, Improved schedule, Improved predictability, Improved quality

Research Publications

Transforming the Industry: Advanced Work Packaging as a Standard (Best) Practice - RR319-11

Publication Date: 08/2016 Type: Research Report Pages: 174 Status: Reference

Validating Advanced Work Packaging as a Best Practice: A Game Changer - IR319-2

Publication Date: 11/2015 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 167 Status: Tool

Making the Case for Advanced Work Packaging as a Standard (Best) Practice - RS319-1

Publication Date: 11/2015 Type: Research Summary Pages: 34 Status: Supporting Product

Presentations from CII Events

Session - Advanced Work Packaging: Toolkit for Success

Publication Date: Presenter: Number of Slides: 88 Event Code: PIW414

Plenary Session - Validating Advanced Work Packaging as a Best Practice – A Game Changer

Publication Date: Presenter: Number of Slides: 0 Event Code: AC2015

Implementation Session - Validating Advanced Work Packaging as a Best Practice – A Game Changer

Publication Date: Presenter: Number of Slides: 52 Event Code: AC2015