Today I got onto site–past the security apparatus designed to deal with the normal, that is a contractor come to work and produce. Being an idle consultant not wishing to pick up things, break or make things, and not wishing to drive big 350 trucks or ship hazardous waste, but merely to observe and opine, I finally got in via a simple, yet seldom used procedure.
Thus I spent the day looking, observing, thinking months and years ahead as to what may be if we did different things. I suppose I have seen so much that I can imagine the future–there is so much past to draw on. I mentally compared alternative courses of action. In my mind I did those colorful matrices where red things are not done because of the risk and consequences and green things are good because they involve low risk and small consequences if they transpire.
Nothing actually happened; because in spite of planning, they could not decide which pipes carried which fluid. Or because systems had been locked down for safety reasons and nobody had thought to unlock them to enable us to act. No matter. It gave us time to mentally reflect and imagine what could happen. This exercise lead me to recommend fundamental changes in the program–as a way to deal with the paper design and the reality of what has been prepared to undertake the trial/test, and what I know from experience (unwritten) may happen.
Lesson learnt: no amount of planning and preparing can make you ready for the real thing. In the field when you turn the valves, anything may happen, and it is best to have the old-men hobble to a vantage point to see, to interpret, to foresee, and to advise on way to avoid the undesirable.
This is real-time decision making. Real-time risk assessment. And real-time application of theories of science, technology, engineering, philosophy, management, and action. Tomorrow maybe we can turn on the systems and I can see, mentally deliberate, and advise the eager young bucks in charge. Stay tuned.