Sarshar, Marjan, Haigh, Richard and Amaratunga, Dilanthi (2004) Improving project processes: best practice case study. Construction Innovation: Information, Process, Management, 4 (2). pp. 69-82. ISSN 1471-4175

This paper describes SPICE (Structure Process Improvement for Construction Enterprises), which is a process improvement framework for construction organizations. SPICE is a five level step by step maturity framework. It assesses an organization's performance against levels of process maturity, identifies their strengths and weaknesses and highlights their improvement priorities. SPICE was developed in close collaboration with the construction industry and tested on real projects. This allowed the framework to take into account practical industrial needs. This paper provides an outline of the SPICE framework. It focuses on a best practice case study of SPICE implementation on a partnering relationship between a major client and a major contractor. The paper details the SPICE assessment and fact finding process. Based on this assessment, it identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the partnering operation and provides specific guidelines for project improvement. Main strengths of the partnering included: 1) close physical proximity of client, design and project management teams; 2) top level commitment to improve productivity; and 3) adoption of manufacturing philosophies and methods in order to deliver improvements. Main weaknesses included: 1) lack of integration between systems and processes of the partnering organizations; 2) presence of cultural and incentive differences between the partnering organizations, which led to fragmentation of the project teams; and 3) little evidence of process evaluation and improvement efforts by the teams. Based on these, some recommendations are made for future improvements.

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