Turnaround Project Planning Primer

Communication, Feedback, Morale


Management cannot function without information. For the information to be useful, it must be:

  • Reliable
  • Timely
  • Complete
  • Easily and completely understood

If the information is not reliable (objective), the confidence level will decrease and affect all other information as well.

If the information is not timely, then any decisions will be made too late, or not made at all, with a potential adverse effect on time and/or cost.

If the information is not complete, the wrong decisions could result.

If the information is not easy to understand (due to complicated form or layout, too much information clutter or incomplete data), then it may lead to erroneous decision-making, or to delay a decision pending the need to obtain clarification of the data.

The information flow within an organization must be established in such a way that it will not break down (become interrupted) or slow down. Any obstacles must be removed to ensure that the information will be available as quickly as possible, and clearly and as complete as possible.


Feedback is a term that denotes an exchange of information. For example, a schedule is issued to repair a heat exchanger. Feedback consists of reporting the status of the work on the scheduled heat exchanger at the end of the shift. If feedback is not present, then the communication process breaks down resulting in the inability to make the right decisions as might be required.

The information flow and feedback must be established beforehand and not changed during the turnaround. This establishes a routine which will help towards achieving timeliness in all communication.


Morale provides the spark that makes the difference between poor productivity and top performance. Morale is best achieved when the instructions (work orders, schedules, technical information, etc.) are clear, organized and timely. Good organization instills a high degree of confidence and builds morale, because a well organized management system removes the element of surprise, improvisation, uncertainty and possible retribution for failure to act. A well organized management systems improves the chances for all participants to be successful in their tasks.

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The Turnaround Project Management Primer is an abridged version of the STO Management Handbook.

For further reading, we also recommend Joel Levitt’s Managing Maintenance Shutdowns and Outages.