Knowledge Management – The Feedback Process In The Oil&Gas Industry

By on October 6, 2014

The Feedback Process is a knowledge‐sharing approach commonly used by operating centers in the Oil&Gas industry to capture feedbacks, lessons learned and best practices from projects.

Feedbacks are an effective tool to improve current projects and also to improve processes, reduce risks of recurrence and minimize costs. The Knowledge Management must be part of the quality policy and the principles of the company vision : “Knowledge is shared and accessible”

The outcomes of the Feedback Process are to:

  • Avoid “reinventing the wheel” by reusing proven solutions and building on past experiences,
  • Improve the quality of products and services while reducing errors, rework and cycle times,
  • Standardize best practices in order to improve efficiency and reduce man-hours expenditure, and
  • Build a knowledge‐sharing culture whereby continuous improvement is encouraged and cross- functional communication facilitated.

The Feedback Process also offers a tool to record the Root Cause Analysis finding for the most critical Feedbacks or for recurrent Feedbacks.

The Feedback process is :

Knowledge Management - The Feedback Process In The Oil&Gas Industry

1- USE existing Feedbacks in new Projects

It is the responsibility of all project team members to search for the lessons learned from previous projects that may apply to the new project. Project personnel should utilize the feedback database at regular intervals such as project initiation, risk management activity, or the start of a new phase in the project (e.g., engineering, construction/installation, commissioning and start-up).

We can find two categories of Feedbacks:

  • Approved feedbacks grouped in Similar Feedbacks with the status “Action Plan Completed”.
    The deliverable related to these Similar Feedbacks describe the solution to apply, the lead discipline engineer may use these deliverables in the project.
  • Feedbacks with no deliverable (Solution) available. They are not yet approved, or grouped in a Similar Feedback.

The lead discipline is responsible to review this list and shall implement the ones which impact his work in the project.

Once the feedbacks have been reviewed by the project team members, a feedback workshop should be held. It is recommended that selected project personnel from previous similar projects be invited to join in the feedback mining workshop, as they may be able to elaborate on critical lessons captured in the feedback database. The objective is to obtain insight and benefit from previous experience. Discussion should include client expectations and standards that may not necessarily be stated in contractual documents.

– Projects COLLECT new Feedbacks

Feedbacks can be either opportunities for improvement the best practices. Project Feedbacks should be recorded and processed on an on-going basis from the project kick-off meeting but they can also be generated as part of Project Feedback workshops, and in any case at project close-out. By principle, anyone working on a project is allowed to create Feedbacks in the Feedback system, as long as member of the Project Feedback Workgroup of the operating centre.

If needed, it is possible to authorize only a few people to create Feedbacks. In some cases, Feedbacks should be imported in the database only after the client has signed the “Release Note” or “Certificate of Contract Completion” to avoid any legal issues.

The Quality Management (QM) in each operating centre is in charge to ensure that the Feedback process is well established at start of projects and those relevant existing Feedbacks are used.

3 – Disciplines ANALYZE Feedbacks assigned to them

When a Feedback has been assigned to a discipline, the Feedback Approver (The discipline manager of the operating centre or any other person dully appointed as such on a permanent basis by the discipline manager) may then take one of the following actions:

  • Analyze the Feedback and make recommendations on how to solve it. It may be very precise or remain open for further studies. The Feedback Approver defines here the action the discipline will need to undertake to ensure the Feedback is acted on.
  • Reject the Feedback: When it is not clear enough for action to be taken. Prior to such rejection, more information should be collected through discussion with the originator of the Feedback. The Feedback rejected remains in the database and can be reactivated by the Feedback Facilitator or the workgroup team leader.
  • Reassign the Feedback when relevant to another discipline. It is good practice to notify directly the other discipline and explain the reasons for reassignment in order to avoid misunderstandings. As much information as possible should be provided to the new discipline to facilitate the process.
    Sometimes a Feedback could be addressed to multiple disciplines: we have then to consider if the Feedback is independent from other disciplines or not. The main discipline will be the only authorized to approve it, but all the disciplines will see it and could solve it independently.
  • And finally, start Root Causes Analysis, interesting issue for another complete future article.

4 – Disciplines IMPLEMENT solutions to Feedbacks and Causes.

The Feedback Approver can group feedbacks by categories and similarity in order to create Similar Feedbacks. Generally, the criterion to be used to group feedbacks is by “Related deliverables”. A Similar Feedback groups all the feedbacks related to a same reference document.

The Feedbacks may call for actions not related to the discipline referential documents such as training needs, resource increase, etc. In such case, the Feedback Approver should group those Feedbacks under a common memorandum will issue to formalize such actions.

The discipline Feedback Approver is in charge of creating action plans from a Similar Feedback as like:

  • Standardize knowledge in documents by creating or updating standards, procedures, or other documentation at the discipline level in order to capitalize on Feedbacks and published in the adequate document library used by the discipline either at local or group level operation centre.
  • Conduct Change Management and training for a new practice.

Susana Barboza

More than 20 years of experience as senior civil/structural engineer, 12 years in Oil&Gas projects,  Onshore&Offshore for FEED and EPC. Performance in accordance with the client's project requirements, management and review of the deliveries produced by junior staff. Ability to work effectively in a multi-disciplinary team. Tasks developed in bilingual environment (Spanish-English in Venezuela and Portuguese-English in Portugal). Linkedin Profile