PDCA-IMG Overview

The PDCA Incident Management Guide – PDCA-IMG is in particular applicable for offshore oil and gas operations in countries where authorities are not using the ICS but merely are organized by governmental and military traditions.  In opposition to ICS and similar systems, it is guiding drilling professionals through the process of managing the incident from an operator’s point of view, while maintaining the company’s organization as is.

The PDCA-IMG – based on Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle – is build for those who do not want to implement the Incident Command System – ICS within own organization, but still want to be able to integrate into a major incident organization managed by a Unified Command [UC] or Unified Area Command [UAC] applying ICS.

The PDCA-IMG is as such most suitable for the exploration/production company – the Operator – who do not have their own fleet, but are in-sourcing drilling rigs, supply boats and other offshore marine resources, while managing their business operations from shore.

The Four Elements of the PDCA-IMG System

The philosophy behind the PDCA-IMG is that the Incident Management Team – IMT should seek to shorten the time between the reactive mode [initial response] and the proactive mode [managing by objectives] as much as possible.  They can do so by using the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle as a guide for incident response planning, thus being able in a structured way to develop a viable Incident Action Plan [IAP], which should be the ultimate goal for the IMT.

  • PLAN – In sequential order; – Establish priorities and objectives; develop strategies and tactics; identify tasks and their required resources.  Ensure connectivity between respectively tasks, tactics, strategies, and objectives.
  • DO – Conduct Safety Analysis, Produce Site Safety Plan, conduct SWOT analysis on IAP, and approve the IAP.  Brief the IAP, assign tasks and resources, and put emphasis on Health and Safety.
  • CHECK – Review and assess effectiveness and resource efficiency, develop alternative strategies and solutions.
  • ACT – Gather information, evaluate results, and benchmark results against the IAP.  Produce Situation Report, consider alternative strategies and put forward recommendations.


The Eight Phases of the PDCA-IMG System

The Incident Response Cycle is a guide for the IMT to the processes and steps involved in planning for an incident.  The cyclical planning process is designed to take the overall incident objectives and break them down into strategies and tactical assignments for each operational period, thereby being able to identify required resources.

At the beginning of the cycle [marked 1 ] is the beginning of the operational period.  In this circular sequence, the steps are 1) Strategy Meeting;  2) Planning Meeting;  3) Assembling the Incident Action Plan [IAP];  4) conduct Staff [operational] Briefing;  5) Monitor Progress;  6) Develop Alternative Strategies and Solutions;  7) provide Situation Update, and 8) Progress Meeting, hereunder bringing forward recommendations for changes.  At this point a new operational period begins.

Each phase of the Incident Response Cycle is briefly explained below, however, relevant guides and tools have been developed for each phase.  Planning begins with a thorough size-up that provides information needed to make initial management decisions.  A Situation Report or Incident Briefing Form with information about the incident situation and the resources initially allocated to the incident should be obtained before starting the Strategy Meeting.


PLAN – Phase 1: Strategy Meeting

Consulting the Crisis Team Lead/Company Executive, the Incident Management Director establishes incident priorities and objectives that cover the entire course of the incident.  For complex incidents, it may take several operational periods to accomplish the incident objectives.  It is important that this initial overall approach to establishing incident objectives establish the course of the incident, rather than having incident objectives only address a single operational period.

Objectives must be S.M.A.R.T.; – Specific, Measurable, Action-orientated, Realistic, and Time bound.  Further at this meeting, clear strategies for each set objective should be developed, thus enabling the team to establish draft tactics during their preparation for the Planning Meeting.  Objectives and Strategies should be documented using the Work Analysis Matrix.  An incident map should also be produced at this stage if not already done.  Initial tasks required for supporting the IAP should be documented on the Open Action Tracker.

After the Strategy Meeting and before assembling for the Planning Meeting, DRAFT tactics for each strategy should be developed.  This is a process that should be carried out by the various specialist teams and could take several or many hours. Thus, calling for the Planning Meeting should not be done before feasible draft tactics have been developed.


PLAN – Phase 2: Planning Meeting

The purpose of this meeting is to review, refine and decide on the tactics, thereby enabling the team to identify the specific tasks and required resources pertinent to each tactic.  Tactics should be documented on the Work Analysis Matrix.  After deciding on the tactics, the team move forward starting identifying the specific tasks and required resources pertinent to each tactic.  This can be done in syndicate rooms as a break-out session.  Tasks and required resources should be documented using the Operational Worksheet.  Further, resource requests should be documented as soon as requirements are known.

During this meeting it should also be considered how the selected strategies will be accomplished in order to achieve the incident objectives.  Hence, the Incident Management Director and the Head of Planning must ensure that there are ‘connectivity’ between respectively tasks, tactics, strategies and objectives.  Finally, the team should at this meeting identify methods for monitoring tactics and resources to determine if adjustments are required.


DO – Phase 3: Prepare and Approve IAP

This phase is not a meeting, – but a process.  During this preparation phase the team should take offset in the Operational Worksheet and conduct a Safety Analysis based on the  identified tasks and required resources.  The safety analysis can be done in various ways using different methods and document styles, however, it is recommended to use already known and existing methods and materials.  Based on the safety analysis, the team must develop a specific Site Safety Plan for each operational area in question.

At the conclusion of this phase, the Head of Planning will indicate when all elements of the plan and support documents required are ready, so the IAP can be collated, duplicated, approved [signed], and made ready for the Staff Briefing.


DO – Phase 4: Staff Briefing

The Staff Briefing may be referred to as the Staff Briefing or the Shift Briefing.  This briefing is conducted at the beginning of each Operational Period and presents the Incident Action Plan to supervisors of tactical resources.  Following the Staff Briefing, supervisors will meet with their assigned personnel for a detailed briefing on their respective assignments.


CHECK – Phase 5: Monitor Progress

This phase is not a meeting, – but a process.  During this process the team will use the identified methods from the Planning Meeting for monitoring tactics, effectiveness, and resources efficiency to determine if adjustments are required.


CHECK – Phase 6: Develop Alternatives

This phase is not a meeting, – but a process.  During this process various specialist teams should be allocated in syndicate [break-out] rooms in order to develop alternative strategies and identify alternative solutions.  The reason for this is that if a chosen strategy for a specific objective fails, then it is much easier and also less time consuming to swap to an already developed alternative strategy, rather, than starting developing one.


ACT – Phase 7: Situation Update

This phase is not a meeting, – but a process.  During this process the team will gather factual information about the incident and its progress.  Based on known facts they will now benchmark the current situation against the IAP objectives and evaluate results.


ACT – Phase 8: Progress Meeting

At this meeting various specialist teams will produce an updated Situation Report, consider alternative strategies and solutions, and  bring forward recommendations for change.  As indicated earlier, incident response planning is a cyclical planning process.  Hence before finalising the Progress Meeting, the team must consider when to re-enter the incident response cycle and move to the next Strategy Meeting and there review/adjust objectives and priorities, as well as consider the implementation of alternative strategies.



The Five Core Positions in the PDCA-IMG System

The basic setup of the Incident Management Team [IMT] in the PDCA-IMG System consist of five core positions, who respectively 1) Lead the IMT;  2) Facilitates the planning process;  3) Directs matters of operational nature;  4) Supports the incident, and 5)  Advises on HSE matters.

Some companies might want to continue using their day-to-day position titles for this purpose which is perfectly fine, however, the PDCA-IMG System provides specific position checklists that have been developed for the following positions:

  • Incident Management Director [IMD]
  • Head of Planning [HPla]
  • Head of Operations [HOps]
  • Head of Logistics [HLog]
  • HSE Advisor [HSE]


The Incident Management Director [IMD] position is leading the IMT and is overall responsible for the overall management of the incident.  The IMD directs incident activities including the development and implementation of strategic decisions and approves the ordering and releasing of resources.

The Head of Planning [HPla] – a core member of the Incident Management Team [IMT] – is responsible for organizing and managing the collection, evaluation, and display of information about the incident, the preparation of the Incident Action Plan [IAP], and the documentation of response operations.

The Head of Operations [HOps] – a core member of the Incident Management Team [IMT] – is responsible for directing all operations for the incident. The HOps activates and supervises elements in accordance with the IAP and requests or releases resources.

The Head of Logistics [HLog] – a core member of the Incident Management Team [IMT] – is responsible for organizing the acquisition and transportation of personnel, equipment and supplies needed to carry out response operations and the provision of services and facilities necessary to support these.

The HSE Advisor [HSE] – a core member of the Incident Management Team [IMT] – is responsible for monitoring and assessing hazardous and unsafe situations and developing measures to assure personnel safety. The HSE maintains awareness of active and developing situations, ensures Site Safety and Health Plans are prepared and implemented.

There will very likely be a need for additional IMT team members, however, these positions might not need to be present at all times, but can be called in when required.


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