Troubleshooting and Human Factors

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Identification and Resolution of Conflicts

Andrew W. Sloley
The Distillation Group, Inc.*
P.O. Box 10105
College Station, Texas 77842-0105

Presented at the
AIChE Spring National Meeting
Session 71: Project Management
9-13 March 1997

Abstract copyright Andrew W. Sloley

Virtually all current refinery and petrochemical projects in developed countries are revamps. Revamps have a much higher number of failures to meet economic or process objectives than new construction. This creates the need for troubleshooting.

The people management skills required for a troubleshooting efforts are distinct and quite different from those required to manage general process plant construction. This is due to a number of fundamental reasons. First, all troubleshooting jobs are revamps in their own right. They always occur in an existing plant. Second, the objective is always to do something to solve a problem. The preexistence of a problem situation dramatically increases the stress levels involved.

To solve a problem, you must know what it is first. After being identified, a solution must be proposed and work to implement the solution completed. In troubleshooting, the identification of the solution may pose insurmountable organizational problems in its own right. Among these are inherent conflicts between individuals and organizations that may have to work together. Resolution of these conflicts is critical to using troubleshooting teams to solve plant operating problems. Conflicting goals, their impact on troubleshooting projects, how to identify the goals and the key concepts to resolving goal conflicts in teams are discussed. The discussion concentrates on observations from the author’s experience in revamp jobs.

14 pages.
Electronic version available in Adobe PDF format file 056.PDF 154k.

Request paper 056.

*current affiliation

This page updated June 1, 1999.
© 1999 The Distillation Group, Inc. All rights reserved.