Visual Path Analysis A Qualitative Technique for Operations Planning
- Richard P. Schoemaker (Mobil Oil Canada Ltd.)
- Document ID
- Petroleum Society of Canada
- Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- October 1966
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 175 - 183
- 1966.Petroleum Society of Canada
- 5.7 Reserves Evaluation, 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training
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- 91 since 2007
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Advanced planning techniques have been proven as a very effective andinexpensive means to maximize the use of manpower and resources. An importantcontribution toward improved planning has been made by the technique known asCritical Path Analysis. However, the effective use of this quantitativetechnique is severely limited in many sectors of operation in the oil industry,due to the great element of uncertainty. Nevertheless, the quality ofperformance in these sectors of operation would benefit greatly from aconsistent and systematic logic in planning. In the absence of a meaningfultime-dollar definition of all elements of a project, or operation, the planningeffort should be directed toward the qualitative definition of the projectstructure.
A qualitative technique for operations planning is formalized in this paperand has been used with good results in a great variety of projects. The essenceof this technique is to stimulate organized thinking and to portray theorganized thought in a diagram for further examination, communication andexecution. The diagram shows the entire structure of the project, orplan of action, in its main divisions, subsidiary components, as well as areasof uncertainty, requiring further definition.
The technique is called Visual Path Analysis, because the diagram portraysthe path of the train of thought in exercising qualitative judgment andanalyzing the project logic. The technique can be used for the planningof a simple operation, or a highly complex project, as well as for planning inthe face of uncertainty. The method provides an effective medium for rapidcommunication of ideas to associates, supervisors and management. The diagramis useful for information retrieval and for preserving the continuity ofplanning and work in progress when a key individual is transferred to otherduties, or leaves the organization.
The technique is relatively uncomplicated, but, because of its simplicityand the absence of rigid rules, requires practice and some natural aptitude toachieve effective diagramming.
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