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Structured Observation with Feedback of interaction in Integrated Operations - is a method for IO collaboration training. Collaboration is key to organizational effectiveness, and the SOFIO training method is focused on virtual teams learning together - by doing. IFE (Institute for Energy Technology) in Halden owns the method and has the instructor competence. IFE's SOFIO team is presently deploying the method in 3 IO Centre partner organizations. SOFIO is not only about training, but also a research method for collecting traits of existing successful IO collaboration in order to enhance these traits and make the interacting parties more conscious of what they do right. During a 3-month period 30 remote observations of IO collaboration at the Statoil Hydro Oilfield Brage were made. Many such indicators were collected at Brage. The nature of IO/multi-collaboration is complex and many-faceted, and thus requires a multi-competence approach to understand and resolve collaboration challenges. An important principle of SOFIO is to approach complementary multi- competence organizations with a multi- disciplinary training team, performing complementary observation and coaching.


IO Collaboration is bringing together people with complementary skills, regardless of location, to achieve high performance.

It has been said that the Holy Grail of integrated operations is collaboration.

IO Collaboration is bringing together people with complementary skills to achieve high performance, including both employees and service providers. Making good use of complementaries is a key success factor in IO. It is also a key challenge in embracing diversity: different cultures, competencies, skills and attitudes. And the work is performed from different locations ant thus by people in different settings

Bringing a group of people together does not ensure collaboration. As many learned at the beginning of IO, building high tech collaboration rooms and making them available did not automatically fill them with people.

Collaboration rooms were first designed and built based on technical requirements mainly, and as it turned out, they were much less employed by the work force than expected on time of procurement.

Building collaboration roles in work processes and placing people in the same virtual rooms have been an important step, but will (on its own) not ensure collaboration either.  We needed something more:  IO Collaboration skills and attitudes.


The first version of this method was developed in 2008 at IFE as part of the IO Center research project Future Collaboration Environments. The development was a cross-disciplinary team effort, and the first SOFIO team consisted of Glenn-Egil Torgersen, Asgeir Drøivoldsmo, Magnhild Kaarstad, Grete Rindahl and Helena Broberg.

The idea for the method development rose in discussions with a Statoil IO team on the difficulty of identifying the factors of collaboration meetings that made one meeting successful and others less so. Was it a question of personality? Was it a matter of technology literacy? Or was it something else? And could this be trained?

Method development started in the spring of 2008, and during the period from July till October that year 30 observations of collaboration meetings at the installation Brage (then Hydro, now Statoil) were conducted, developing the method and collecting traits of successful collaboration for the IO Center report “IO Collaboration at Brage”.

After this report, which was well received by the IO Center partners, it was decided by the technical committee for Programme 4 of the IO Center that further development of the SOFIO method should be done in bilateral projects (associated projects), whereas the results found should be incorporated into further IO Center financed research on Future Collaboration Environments.

In 2009 the method was further developed by IFE. The first bilateral project using SOFIO as a training method for IO teams was started at GDFSUEZ EPN, in preparing their Pre-operations team for collaboration onshore and offshore for their installation Gjøa. IFE has since built further on this method, and it is presently used in three different partner companies.


Key characteristics

Area of application:

SOFIO training can be implemented for any distributed IO team collaborating through VC and digital surfaces, e. g.:

  • Offshore-onshore collaboration
  • Leader teams
  • Cross-organisation teams
  • New and old organisations
  • Multicultural teams and flexible organisations


Who benefits?

SOFIO is oriented towards operators, suppliers, and third parties.


When to apply?

SOFIO provides a practical approach to IO training either in the early phases of an IO organisation or in improving collaboration skills in existing organisations.


How to apply?

Elements of the method are:

  • As-is analysis of the organisation’s IO collaboration skills and challenges
  • Development of tailored training design to meet organisation needs
  • Station training to develop specific skills
  • Remote training and coaching performed during regular collaborative work



SOFIO has a strong focus on enabling the team or organisation to continue self- training and learning in everyday operations.

The results provided by IFE’s SOFIO training are:

  • Assessment of as-is IO collaboration skills and infrastructure
  • Training design and execution
  • Collaboration guidelines
  • Remote observation and coaching
  • Station training
  • Raised awareness in the organisation on IO collaboration.

Typical categories of training include:

  • Precision communication
  • Technology literacy
  • Teamwork
  • IO compliance


  • Training in the real work situation saves time and money and ensures focused training for the desired work practice
  • Provides hands-on guidance and detailed steps that are proven effective
  • Addresses key issues such as empowerment, trust, cultural diversity and involvement from an holistic learning perspective
  • Training together, is building team competence and team spirit
  • Aids acceptance and implementation through involvement and participation of key stakeholders

Challenges and measures

It is possible to do a lot right, and still not get the required investment from the involved staff.

When embarking on the-job-training for work tasks that have not started yet, it may be challenging to create the right mindset and motivation.
Measures taken include identifying pre-ops training elements, and use cases for future operations. Patience is required.

Extroverts are easier to train in an on-the –job setting than introverts. A key element is on the job training with feedback, and there will always be persons in a meeting who do not collaborate actively. This requires encouragement and assistance in building a good arena where people contribute in order to learn. Close collaboration between instructors and the organisation’s leadership is very important to achieve this.  E.g. In on-the-job training, meeting leaders must first be trained to enable training of the more quiet or passive participants.

Other key information

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