look inside a compressor and discover it’s in worse shape than
expected. A solid plan will always include scenarios and fixes
for emergent work. Similarly, a comprehensive plan will also
anticipate and account for delays beyond control, such as an
unexpected permitting problem or extreme weather conditions
that could delay work.
KEEP SCOPE SACRED
It’s one thing to have a plan and quite another to stick to it. Too
often, teams struggle with following scope throughout a project’s
lifecycle, frequently delivering varied results from what was
originally targeted and agreed upon.
The idea of “scope freeze” – delivering on scope exactly as
agreed upon at the onset – rarely works, resulting in huge costs.
More often than not, the scope changes as the project progresses,
chiefly due to poor planning and up-front coordination and
alignment. To avoid such scenarios, it is critical to hold stakeholders accountable to commitments made during the of-ten-lengthy planning process.
Companies must also pay close attention to the “
scope-chal-lenge” – the points in the project where requested changes are
reviewed and either approved or denied. This is a good process,
but many times changes are approved for the wrong reasons
(often, down to who shouts the loudest). Instead, make certain
all approved changes map back to the initial and agreed upon
business objectives and cost-benefit analysis. And be aware of
how the changes will impact project deadlines.
MAKE DATA AVAILABLE TO ALL
Many oil and gas companies track project information the
old-fashioned way – they plug it into a spreadsheet and standalone tools. The trouble with this approach is that critical data
resides on someone’s PC – where it isn’t readily accessible to all
stakeholders who need the data to make decisions and execute
With a centralized platform for project management, teams
can track their work and increase overall coordination and organizational competence across the enterprise.
For example, the ability to manage scope through its lifecycle
– including all estimates, reviews, approvals and any changes
to the overall scope connected to the resources and schedule
– ensures visibility throughout the organization. This helps
ensure all stakeholders – and especially management – can
make effective decisions.
In today’s connected world, oil and gas companies that do
not take advantage of modern integrated tools and the ability
to share information in real time put themselves at a significant
competitive and financial disadvantage. Transparency is key to
success in the digital age.
CONNECT THE ENTERPRISE
There are many tools and products available to support TAR
events, but none delivers the kind of common, centralized project
management platform that an Enterprise Project Portfolio Man-
agement (EPPM) solution does. As such, an EPPM solution
should be a top consideration for oil and gas companies.
The EPPM approach eliminates the need for multiple and
disparate management by spreadsheets and the like and provides
accurate, up-to-date information and a bird’s- eye view of project
progression. For example, on a TAR there are two shifts per day,
and the shift scheduler must bring all the needed data together
from one shift, reconcile it, and then create the next shift plan.
Managers can leverage EPPM to more effectively forecast and
manage costs, schedules, materials and resources across the
Cost, schedule, and earned-value thresholds can be set to
automatically generate issues when projects exceed specified
limits. Negative trends can be identified early so the necessary
course corrections can be made. Managers can plan for the
unexpected by performing ‘what-if’ simulations to determine
the schedule and cost exposure of project risks. This holistic
view, combined with the ability to see details when needed,
provides management with the data they need to deliver the
highest possible levels of predictability at the lowest possible
LEARN AND IMPROVE CONTINUALLY
Far too often, the siloed and disconnected approach to TAR
planning and execution leaves oil and gas companies unable
to track performance and capture learnings that can be applied
to future events.
On average, larger TARs occur every four to five years. Everything that occurred during previous projects – actions, incidents,
scope changes, overruns, etc. – needs to be centrally stored,
analyzed, and readily accessible to advise future endeavors.
TARs do not start with planning and end when specific projects are done. Organizations should view turnarounds as ongoing,
circular maintenance processes that can have a direct effect on
a company’s revenues and competitive standing.
In conclusion, managing scope, cost, scheduling, risk and
change is a core challenge for the oil and gas industry. By successfully applying these five best practices above, oil and gas
companies can not only keep current TAR projects on track, but
also improve the overall planning process and minimize costly
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Geoff Roberts serves as director of industry strategy
(energy) at Oracle. He is a chartered cost engineer
with more than 35 years of experience in all aspects
of project management and project controls. He
has been with Oracle Construction and Engineering
for 17 years. Roberts provides strategic direction,
domain expertise and insight around asset intensive industries
and how they operate, to both internal and external customers
and provides input into the solutions Oracle delivers to its