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Project Practitioners > Morley Selver

Morley Selver

Morley Selver

Morley Selver is 'The Project Doctor'. Drawing on his over 35 years of industrial project management experience, he provides training, books, articles, information, and project management services. He has worked in industry, with and for consultants, and had his own consulting business. His industrial experience includes operations and maintenance, research and development, project management of small to medium size plant projects, construction management of large industrial projects, mechanical installation of heavy industrial equipment, commissioning and startup of industrial plants, and plant management.

He has been a project manager on projects in operating pulp and paper mills, oil refineries, terminals, on North Slope oil projects, board plants, and the recycling industry in various locations across Canada and the USA. His experience in industry indicated there was a need for basic project management training in the management of complex industrial projects. This was not well represented in the project management training arena and is what led him to write the published book “Plant Project Engineering Guidebook” plus several e-books available on his website. From this book he developed the workshop “Fundamentals of Project Management”, “Capital Project Cost Control”, and “Certificate in EPC Project Management”. The EPC Project Management workshop is accredited by the Project Management Association of Canada. He is a Professional Engineer (Canada), a Certified Senior Project Manager with IPMA (IPMA Cert B), the Director of Certification for the Project Management Association of Canada, and one of their “First Assessors”. You can visit his web page at

Oh Oh, We Should Have Discussed This With Operations! Part II
By Morley Selver, P.Eng IPMA B
This article is a continuation of last months article on Operators responsibilities. g) Participate in HAZOP reviews and pre-start up reviews, and file all review documentation as appropriate. The HAZOP is a Hazard and Operability Study. It is a structured and systematic examination of a planned or existing process or operation in order to identify and evaluate problems that may represent risks to personnel or equipment, or prevent efficient operation. The HAZOP technique is used to analyze chemical process systems and complex operations and uses software to record the deviation and consequence. A HAZOP is a qualitative technique based on... Read More»

Why Is It Called Fred's Folly?
By Morley Selver, P.Eng IPMA B
Oh Oh, We Should Have Discussed This With Operations All projects are about solving a problem and it is important that Operators be part of the solution. This means, when you are managing a project in an industrial facility, you should have an Operations Representative on the project team. As a designer, you need to understand what the problem really is. This comes from discussions with the Operations Representative. As well, the Operators are the ones who have to live with the project so they should have substantial input into the design and construction of any project. Remember, Operations are... Read More»

Costs of Workplace Illness & Injuries
By Morley Selver, P.Eng IPMA B
A few years ago, during a refinery startup after a shutdown, they had an explosion killing 15 people and injuring over 170. The refinery was fined $96 million dollars and it caused $50 million in damages. They accepted responsibility and paid out over $1.6 billion in compensation. This is an extreme case, however, there is a cost to workplace illness and injuries and I want to go over them with you. While I am talking about them, think of your own situation and what would happen should you get seriously injured. Also keep in mind that what would affect you... Read More»

There’s Nothing To Project Management
By Morley Selver, P.Eng IPMA B
You Can Do It In Your Spare Time. Right now, in the oil and gas field there is a huge demand for project managers and a very limited supply. Companies are trying to fill the void in several ways, including; hiring IT project managers to fill positions in industrial applications; and getting an employee to manage a project along with their regular duties. It is the second method that I want to talk about as there were several attendees at a recent workshop in this situation. They were engineers whom management had offered the chance to manage a small project... Read More»

Sunshine & Rainbows, Part IV
By Morley Selver, P.Eng IPMA B
We Forgot To Check That. We were building a new facility and had to design a loading area to ship the product. The product was to be shipped by flat deck semi-trailers called B-trains which is one truck pulling two flat bed trailers. As we were in the frozen north, the trucks would be loaded inside at one end of the warehouse. Those on the design team were not truck drivers so we were trying to figure out how to get the trucks in and out of the warehouse. We were looking at a drive through as we did not... Read More»

Sunshine & Rainbows, Part III
By Morley Selver, P.Eng IPMA B
It Looked Okay When We Built It!! This is a new facility we built up in the frozen north. In this case we had the three towers shown in Figure 1. To get up to the top of the tower on the left, we got on to the middle tower by a walkway from the building roof, on to the platform shown, down the stairs to the tower on the left, then climbed a ladder to the top of the tower. When we designed and built it, it looked okay. During commissioning and startup, the operators complained about it. I... Read More»

Not All Projects Are Sunshine & Rainbows - Part II
By Morley Selver, P.Eng IPMA B
Continued from Part I This was a project where we wanted to increase production of handtowel at one of our locations. The existing equipment was not sufficient and could not be modified so a new / used machine was required. We searched the used equipment market and went looking at used machines, which was an interesting exercise in itself. Eventually we found one in Wisconsin that we could use. When you are buying used you need to realize that it was probably losing money so there would have been little maintenance done on it and when it was shutdown, that... Read More»

Not All Projects Are Sunshine & Rainbows - Part I
By Morley Selver, P.Eng IPMA B
I would hazard a guess that all projects have something go wrong that takes time, money, and effort to sort out. This is how we, as project managers, gain experience and knowledge. In fact, when you look at all your company procedures and practices, you need to realize that they are the result of someone trying to solve a problem. Some problems you can laugh at and others are serious issues. Following are a couple of problems I had on different projects. The Diesel Generators Figure 1 is a picture of a diesel generator. We purchased fourteen of them of... Read More»

Why Projects Fail
By Morley Selver, P.Eng IPMA B
This is the final article on why projects fail. The project changes due to: Mergers and acquisitions - when companies merge or are bought out their goals will change. The new goals are typically not the same goals as the company being taken over had. I once worked for a consulting firm who were part of the ownership of startup companies. I was seconded as the General Manager of a small company where we recovered precious metal from electronic scrap (we were getting 3 ozs of gold out of a ton of scrap computers). The plan was to get the... Read More»

“Success Has A Thousand Fathers But Failure Is An Orphan."
By Morley Selver, P.Eng IPMA B
This article is a continuation of the series on why projects fail. Poor Coordination Of Effort Companies always try to save costs on projects by not going full bore on a project management group. They may have project managers but they are expected to work within a procurement and accounting system set up for buying toilet paper, selling widgets and delaying payments. When you, as a project manager, are in this type of system, your primary goal is to get the project up and running within budget and on schedule while the other players are interested in keeping the facility... Read More»

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