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Operations Readiness

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Operations Readiness is the process of preparing the custodians of an asset under construction (and the supporting organisation) such that, at the point of delivery and handover, the Asset Organisation is fully prepared to assume ownership of the asset, accepts responsibility for, (and is capable of), performing the safe and efficient operation of that asset in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.

Assurance, in respect of OR&A, is about assuring the stakeholders of a project that it is capable of achieving ‘Ready to Operate’ status at the point of handover from the Project team.

The target outcomes of the Operations Readiness & Assurance (OR&A) process are therefore the continuous 'real-time' indication of progress towards, and the achievement of, that ‘Ready to Operate’ status.

Deploying Operations Readiness in a Project means addressing three key areas, as illustrated below:

  1. Project Deliverables ... as identified in the contract documents, e.g. design & construction and commissioning activities, delivery of supporting documentation from design team, vendors & suppliers (and sometimes start-up and performance testing of the completed asset).
  2. Operations Requirements, advice and contributions to the Project ... e.g. checking operability, maintainability, reviews and output of design, confirming modes of operation of equipment, participation in HAZID, HAZOP, FAT, SAT, punch-listing, commissioning & start-up activities.
  3. Operations needs that are not Project Deliverables ... e.g. readiness of Operations Team, ISSOW implementation, rationalisation of long term spare parts, training and competence of Operations Team and Operations, Management Systems.

Achieving ‘Ready to Operate’ requires the development and exchange of a large amount of information between the Project Team, Engineering Team, Construction Team and Operations Team. Managing this interchange is no easy activity and needs a robust process to ensure everything is addressed, prepared to the appropriate level of quality and completeness and subsequently delivered to the end user in a timely manner.

Illustrates the linear process of OR&A and the phases of the project in which it is used. Also shows the relationship to Operations Excellence and where OE is related to the project and OR&A process.

Throughout the Life-Cycle of a project and the subsequent completed asset, different groups are involved at different times and for different reasons, with different tasks and targets. The OR&A process is used to ensure that nothing is lost in interfaces, communication or interaction at any stage.

OR&A is deployed to ‘bridge the gap’ between the project team and the client and to monitor, manage and assure:

  • The clients requirements (from the design stage)
  • Management of the project / client interface
  • Involvement of operations team in commissioning and start-up
  • Preparation of the asset organisation
  • Performance testing, handover and acceptance

As the illustration shows, Asset Integrity and Operations Excellence (OE) are outcomes of the from the OR&A process and should allow OE to be maintained for the life of the asset.

Project Timeline

The time-line used by every structured project is divided into a number of phases, each named to indicate their purpose, beginning with identification of the initial project concept through to achieving full operation.

Project Timeline & OR&A involvement

A robust OR&A System should document all of the scope required to complete the OR&A process and this should be structured to enable the process to be easily implemented, managed, reported, reviewed and audited. A typical structure would look something like that illustrated below:

OR&A Structure.png

Each of the OR&A Subjects listed should then be divided into a number of Activities, mapped against the Project Phases, to illustrate what part of the scope needs to be carried out during each phase of the project ...

OR&A Delivery Map.png

Each activity should then be further expanded to provide sufficient detail to allow the OR&A Practitioner to perform the necessary tasks, to record levels of progress, comments and other pertinent information.

This should then be incorporated into an OR&A Management System which records the relevant input and allows the creation of a dashboard and a range of detailed reports to provide the necessary assurance that the project is on track to achieve 'Ready to Operate' status at the point of handover to the asset operator.

More information can be found on my personal website at


  1. David C. Powell Operations Readiness & Assurance (OR&A) - a guide for practitioners (2012) ISBN978-1-4716-0802-5