Applying PMBOK to Manage Shutdowns, Turnarounds and Outages


Background


The Project Management Institute (PMI) has published A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) to identify and describe the subset of the project management discipline that is applicable to most projects most of the time. It provides a loose guideline for structuring a project management methodology:

“1.1 Purpose of this Guide
... The primary purpose of this document is to identify and describe that subset of the PMBOK that is generally accepted. Generally accepted means that the knowledge and practices described are applicable to most projects most of the time, and that there is widespread consensus about their value and usefulness. Generally accepted does not mean that the knowledge and practices described are or should be applied uniformly on all projects; the project management team is always responsible for determining what is appropriate for any given project.

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge

It is up to turnaround managers to evaluate the applicability of their specific project management methodology for turnarounds. Many turnaround managers do not have a formal background in project management and have never studied the PMBOK. As a result, there has been little discussion in professional circles of the proper application of the PMBOK for a turnaround specific management methodology.

Most turnaround managers employ an EPC centric project management approach to turnarounds. In order to analyze the applicability of this approach, we first need to understand the important differences between turnarounds and EPC projects. Then we shall have the proper basis for evaluating a turnaround centric project management methodology in accordance with the PMBOK.


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Authored by Bernard Ertl, Vice President, InterPlan Systems

Bernard Ertl has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and extensive field experience planning and managing turnarounds in the oil refining and petrochemical process industries.

Applying PMBOK to Manage Shutdowns, Turnarounds and Outages was also published in Maintenance and Asset Management Journal Vol 20, No 3, Autumn 2005.