Applying PMBOK to Manage Shutdowns, Turnarounds and Outages


Project Quality Management


According to the PMBOK, project quality management entails several aspects:

  • quality planning
  • quality assurance
  • quality control

Of these, quality assurance and quality control are usually well defined (and in some cases, government regulated) for safety concerns in turnarounds.

Quality planning on the other hand is an issue that is usually poorly addressed by turnaround organizations. It is recommended that organizations employ a system for capturing and improving plans and estimates for recurring jobs from turnaround to turnaround. This entails benchmarking during execution and a follow up review post-execution to update the system. Too often, the follow up review never occurs and it is left to chance that the planner will remember necessary details the next time a turnaround involving the same unit is planned.

In many cases where the preparation time for planning a turnaround is compressed or inadequate, there is a better than average chance that turnaround plans based upon templates (or historical plans) will suffer from cut and paste syndrome and not receive due consideration for customizing to the instant situation. The best solution for mitigating these problems is to use a planning system like eTaskMaker.


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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.