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1. bussiness process diagonistic tool for cpm

  1. 1. 1 SPICE: A Business Process Diagnostics Tool for Construction ProjectsM.Sarshar, R.Haigh, M.Finnemore, G.Aouad, P. Barrett, D. Baldry, M. SextonSchool of Construction and Property Management, University of Salford, Salford, UKContact Details:Dr. Marjan SarsharSchool of Construction and Property ManagementUniversity of SalfordSalfordM7 9NUTelephone - 0161 295 5317Fax - 0161 295 5011E-mail - M.Sarshar@surveying.salford.ac.uk
  2. 2. 2ABSTRACTThe construction sector is under growing pressure to increase productivity and improve quality, mostnotably in reports by Latham (1994) and Egan (1998). A major problem for construction companies isthe lack of project predictability. One method of increasing predictability and delivering increasedcustomer value is through the systematic management of construction processes. However, the industryhas no methodological mechanism to assess process capability and prioritise process improvements. Standardised Process Improvement for Construction Enterprises (SPICE) is a research project thatis attempting to develop a step-wise process improvement framework for the construction industry,utilising experience from the software industry, and in particular the Capability Maturity Model(CMM), which has resulted in significant productivity improvements in the software industry. This paper introduces SPICE concepts and presents the results from two case studies conducted ondesign and build projects. These studies have provided further insight into the relevance and accuracyof the framework, as well as its value for the construction sector.KeywordsCapability Maturity Model (CMM), process assessment, process capability, process enablers, processimprovement, SPICE.BACKGROUNDFor many years, businesses within the construction sector have been applying new methods of workingand technologies to improve productivity and attain quality gains. However, the targets set by SirMichael Latham in Constructing the Team (Latham 1994) have yet to be achieved. In his report ofJuly 1998, Sir John Egan (Egan 1998) emphasised the call for productivity improvements and urged theindustry to focus in particular on construction processes. However, until now, the industry has had few
  3. 3. 3recognised methodologies or frameworks on which to base a process improvement initiative. Theabsence of clear guidelines has meant that improvements are isolated and benefits cannot be co-ordinated or repeated. The industry is unable to systematically assess construction process, prioritiseprocess improvements, and direct resources appropriately. Moreover, it is not possible for companies tobenchmark and measure their performance relative to other organisations. SPICE research is attemptingto address these issues. Standardised Process Improvement for Construction Enterprises (SPICE) is a current researchproject that is developing a process improvement framework for the construction industry. This isbased on an existing successful model (Paulk 1993, Saidian 1995), which was developed by the USDepartment of Defence and is widely used in the software industry, namely the Capability MaturityModel (CMM). Increasing evidence from other sectors (Imai 1986, Paulk 1993) shows that continuousprocess improvement is based on many small, evolutionary steps, rather than revolutionary measures.Successful implementers of CMM have reported significant business benefits. For example, HughesAircraft (USA) reported a 5:1 ROI, and Raytheon (USA) achieved a 7.7:1 ROI and 2:1 productivitygains (Saidian 1995). Industry analysis by J. Herbsleb (Herbsleb 1994) showed that companiesimplementing CMM achieved an average of 35% productivity improvements and an average of 39%post delivery defect reduction. Latham’s call for a 30% cost reduction and zero defects would becomemore feasible if the construction industry could realise similar figures. Tailoring of CMM to construction is not a linear mapping exercise. Studies by Lillrank (1995)show that transfer of innovation across countries (and industries) cannot take place in their originalpackaging. The core idea of an innovation must be abstracted and then recreated in a form, which fitslocal conditions. Lillrank argues that a significant amount of work is required at the receiving end ofinnovation, especially in adopting the appropriate organisational forms. This is certainly true in the caseof the SPICE project. SPICE is continuously investigating how CMM’s basic concepts can be benefited
  4. 4. 4from to develop a construction specific framework. The CMM concepts are described in Sarshar(1998, 1999a). This paper introduces the SPICE concepts and framework, which are similar but notidentical to CMM. In the following sections the paper differentiates between mature and immature organisations, interms of a systematic approach to business processes. It then describes the SPICE maturity model,which is an incremental model. SPICE helps immature organisations reach process maturity. The paperalso differentiates between process and process capability. It introduces the concept of "processenablers" and discusses SPICEs assessment mechanism. Level 2 of the model is applied to two designand build projects. The case study results are discussed and analysed.IMMATURE VERSUS MATURE CONSTRUCTION ORGANISATIONS Setting sensible goals for process improvement requires an understanding of the difference betweenimmature and mature organisations (Paulk 1995, Zahran 1998). In an immature organisation, construction processes are generally improvised by practitioners andproject managers during the course of the project. Even if a construction process has been specified, itis not rigorously followed or enforced. The immature organisation is reactionary, and managers areusually focused on fire fighting. In an immature organisation, there is no objective basis for judgingproduct quality or for solving product or process problems. The product quality assurance is oftencurtailed or eliminated when projects fall behind schedule. In an immature organisation, product quality is difficult to predict. Activities intended to enhancequality such as reviews are often curtailed. Many of the quality assurance activities are left until the"snagging" stage at the end of the project. At this point the problems can be too costly to rectify andlead to conflict of interest among the project team.
  5. 5. 5 Even in undisciplined and immature organisations, individual projects sometimes produceexcellent results (Humphrey 1989). When such projects succeed, it is generally through the heroicefforts of a dedicated team, rather than through repeating the systematic and proven methods of amature organisation. Conversely, a mature construction organisation possesses an organisation wide ability formanaging design, construction and maintenance activities. The processes are accurately communicatedto both existing staff and new employees, and activities are carried out according to the plannedprocesses. The processes mandated are fit for use and consistent with the way the work gets done.Roles and responsibilities within the defined processes are clear throughout the project and across theorganisation. In mature organisations, managers monitor the quality of the products and clientsatisfaction. There is an objective, quantitative basis for judging product quality and analysingproblems with the product and process, and a reflective element to the organisational culture. Ingeneral, a disciplined process is consistently followed because all of the participants understand thevalue of doing so, and the necessary infrastructure exists to support the process.THE SPICE FRAMEWORKContinuous process improvement is based on many small, evolutionary steps (Imai 86). The SPICEframework organises these evolutionary steps into maturity levels that lay successive foundations forcontinuous process improvement. These maturity levels define a scale for measuring the maturity of aconstruction organisations processes, and evaluating its process capability. They provide guidelines forprioritising process improvement efforts. A maturity level is a well-defined evolutionary plateau towards achieving mature processes. Eachmaturity level provides a layer in the foundation for continuous process improvement. Each levelcomprises a set of process goals that, when satisfied, stabilise an important component in the
  6. 6. 6"construction" process. Achieving each level of the maturity framework establishes a differentcomponent in the "construction" process, resulting in an increase in the process capability of theorganisation (Paulk 1993). The SPICE maturity framework is depicted in figure 1. An assessment tool accompanies thisframework. An organisation can only be at one level of maturity at any stage. Organisations conduct anassessment to establish which level of maturity they are at. Judging by the experience in the softwareindustry, most companies are initially at level 1. They then need to focus on and implement all the keyprocesses at the next level, i.e. level 2. It is important to note that this framework is still under research. The initial concepts have beenborrowed from CMM (Humphrey 1989, Paulk 1995, Zahran 1998). The characteristics of levels 1 and2 have been investigated within construction. However, the characteristics of levels 3, 4 and 5 arebased on CMM thinking. These may change, as more empirical evidence gathers. The characteristics ofeach level of the framework follow:Level 1- InitialAt this level, project visibility and predictability are poor. Good project practices are local and cannotbe repeated across the company in an institutionalised fashion. Ineffective planning and co-ordinationundermine good engineering practices. Organisations make commitments that staff or the supply chaincannot meet. This results in a series of crisis. During crisis, projects typically abandon planned procedures. Time and costs are often under tightcontrol in construction. Hence the crisis often leads to compromises on quality. Success dependsentirely on having an exceptional manager and a competent team. When these managers leave, theirstabilising influences leave with them.
  7. 7. 7 The construction process capability of level 1 organisations is unpredictable because the process isnot specified and is constantly changed or modified as the work progresses. Performance depends onthe capabilities of the individuals, rather than that of the organisation.Level 2- RepeatableAt this level there is a degree of project predictability. Policies and procedures for managing the majorproject based processes are established. A major objective of level 2 is to focus on effectivemanagement processes within each construction project. This allows organisations to repeat thesuccessful practices of earlier projects. An effective process can be characterised as practised,documented, enforced, trained, evaluated and able to improve. At level 2, organisations make realistic commitments based on project requirements. Managerstrack quality and functionality as well as time and costs. Problems in meeting the commitments areidentified as they arise. The integrity of the project requirements are maintained throughout the project.Standards are defined and organisations ensure that they are faithfully followed. Projects work withsub-contractors to establish strong relationships. To date the emphasis of the research has been the characteristics of this level.Level 3- DefinedAt level three both management and engineering activities are documented, standardised and integratedinto the organisation. These standard processes are referenced throughout the organisation. All projectsuse approved, tailored versions of organisations standard processes, which accounts for their uniquecharacteristics. Level 3 is where an organisation develops the capability to capture and share best practices, acrossthe organisation rather than on a localised basis. This is a topical issue for the construction industry.
  8. 8. 8 One implication of the SPICE model is that an organisation does not have the capability to capturebest practices, until it reaches level 3. Attempts to do so will be risky and are likely to proveunsuccessful. A well-defined process includes standard descriptions and models for performing the work,verification mechanisms (such as peer reviews) and completion criteria. Because the process is welldefined, management has good insight into progress. Quality and functionality of all projects are welltracked.Level 4- ManagedAt this level organisations have the capability to set quality goals for (i) the product, (ii) the process,and (iii) the supply chain relationships. Productivity and quality are measured for importantconstruction process activities across all projects as part of an organisational measurement program.This forms an objective basis for measuring the product, the process, and the degree of customersatisfaction. Projects gain control by narrowing the variations in their process performance, to fall withinacceptable quantitative boundaries. Meaningful variations can be distinguished from random variations.The risks involved in moving up the learning curve either due to undertaking new categories ofprojects, or engaging in new procurement and supplier chain arrangements can be managed.Level 5- OptimisedAt this stage the entire supply chain is focused on continuous process improvement. The organisationshave the means to identify weaknesses and strengthen the processes pro-actively, in a collaborativemanner. Data on the effectiveness of the processes is used to perform cost benefit analysis of new
  9. 9. 9technologies and proposed changes to the organisations processes. Innovations that exploit the bestbusiness management practices are identified and transferred throughout the organisations. Project teams across the supply chain analyse defects to determine their causes. Constructionprocesses are evaluated to prevent known types of defects from recurring, and lessons learned arecommunicated to other projects.SCOPE OF SPICEThe CMM model has not specifically addressed the supply chain. In construction, it is difficult to scopeimprovement efforts without directly addressing supply chain issues. Another characteristic of theconstruction industry is that the process maturity may change, during the different stages of a projectlife cycle. SPICE attempts to address these construction characteristics. The current research has primarilyfocused on a single project phase in one organisation. The research will progressively expand toinvestigate the other life cycle and supply chain issues.
  10. 10. 10KEY PROCESSES; LEVEL 2There are a number of "key processes" associated with each level of the SPICE model, in figure 1. Toachieve each level of maturity an organisation must perform all these key processes adequately. Sincethe focus of SPICE has been level 2 of the framework, this section provides a short description of level2 key processes. These key processes are based on CMM’s key processes (Sarshar 1999 b), butchanged to reflect construction terminology and characteristics. For example the SPICE key process“Brief & Scope of Work Management”, maps onto CMM key process “Requirements Management”. These can be listed as:§ Brief & Scope of Work Management - Establishes a common understanding of the project requirements between the client and the project team.§ Project Planning - Establishes realistic plans and programmes of work for all activities during the project.§ Project Tracking & Monitoring - Ensures that there is an awareness of actual progress so that management can take corrective actions when the projects performance deviates significantly from the plans.§ Sub-contract Management - Involves selecting a suitable sub-contractor, establishing commitments, and tracking and reviewing their performance and results.§ Project Change Management - Tracks revisions to the project brief by assessing and controlling the impact of any changes and informing all relevant members of the project team.§ Risk Management - Identifies, assesses, monitors and mitigates risks.§ Project Team Co-ordination - Draws on the experience of other organisations within the project team in order to effectively meet project requirements.For an organisation to achieve level 2 of maturity, all projects must perform all these key processesadequately. This forms the basis for progression to level 3.
  11. 11. 11PROCESS ENABLERSAnecdotal evidence during SPICE research highlights that if you ask project managers: "Do youimplement level 2 key processes?", they are likely to give a positive response. On the other hand ourcurrent case studies indicate the contrary. How can project managers ensure that they are performingthe key processes adequately? Zahran (1998) differentiates between “incomplete processes” and “disciplined processes”. He listsa number of characteristics for each category. Paulk (1995) also lists a number of “key managementfeatures” for a complete and coherent process. Based on these philosophies, SPICE has developed anumber of “process enablers”. Process enablers focus on results, which can be expected to be achieved from a key process. This isa forward-looking approach, which indicates process capability before a process takes place. Theyprovide detail of features, which a key process must posses in order to yield successful results.Ensuring that all the process enablers are in place, improves the performance and predictability of keyprocesses. Process enablers are common across all the key processes. SPICE process enablers are listedbelow:§ Commitment - This criterion ensures that the organisation takes action to ensure that the process is established and will endure. It typically involves establishing organisation policies. Some processes require organisational sponsors or leaders. Commitment to perform ensures that leadership positions are created and filled and the relevant organisational policy statements exist.§ Ability - This describes the preconditions that must exist to implement the process competently. It normally involves adequate resourcing, appropriate organisational structure, and training.
  12. 12. 12§ Verification - This verifies that the activities are performed in compliance with the process that has been established. It emphasises the need for independent, external verification by management and quality assurance.§ Evaluation - This describes the basic internal process evaluation and reviews that are necessary. These internal evaluations are used to control and improve the processes. During the early stages of maturity, this translates into efforts by the team to improve their existing processes.§ Activities - This describes the activities, roles and procedures necessary to implement processes. It typically involves establishing plans and procedures, performing the work, tracking it, and taking corrective action as necessary.THE ASSESSMENT MECHANISMThe SPICE assessment mechanism ensures that each key process has reached capability by testing itagainst the above “process enablers”. The assessment would generally comprise of three elements: aquestionnaire; interviews of key personnel; a document review. The assessment team, review the results to establish whether each key process is capable. Thisprocess allows the assessment team to "hold a mirror in front of the project team". The findings areshared with the project team, who use these results to plan improvement activities. The combination of these key processes viewed as a whole, will place the organisation at a level ofprocess maturity in the model. An organisation can only be considered to be at a particular level in themodel if all the key processes are deemed capable at that level.RESEARCH METHODOLOGYThe research is carried out in close collaboration with industry. A core steering group of 8 practitionersand academics lead the research and findings are verified by continuous dissemination and exchange of
  13. 13. 13ideas with industry representatives. The research is presented to a bi-annual panel of expertsworkshops, where between 20-30 senior academics and industrialists provide discussion, feedback andfuture directions. The research approach can be classified as a ‘testing-out research’ due to the nature of theme. Inthis type of research, the aim is trying to find the limits of previously proposed generalisations (in thesoftware sector) and, subsequently, specifying, modifying or clarifying their content (Starke 1995). Asa testing-out research, it has to be carried out in ‘real world’ conditions where the kind of controlpresent in a laboratory is not feasible and not even ethically justifiable. Thus, it was decided to adopt acase study research strategy, with multiple case study design. Since the basic philosophies of SPICE were borrowed from the software industry, it is important toensure that construction is not "shoehorned" into software concepts. The research team developed a setof success criteria for the SPICE concepts. The criteria was that the SPICE concepts and results wouldbe meaningful and of value to the construction teams, as well as to construction academics and seniormanagers. At the end of each case study the SPICE results were shared with the project teams, to seekif the results added value and are were for initiating improvements. Once the teams had understood andagreed with the results, they are put to the panel of experts, to establish their validity with theacademics and senior industrialists. Several case studies were conducted in two companies: (i) a large contracting firm, and (ii) a smallprofessional architectural practice. These case studies provide the facility to test the research proposalsin a live project environment. Figure 2 shows the projects iterative approach and output. It is generally acknowledged that there are large gaps between industrial perspectives andrequirements, as opposed to the academic outlook (Brandon 1999). SPICE has been reasonablysuccessful in bridging some of the gaps. Some lessons learned from this collaborative approach arediscussed in Sarshar (1999b). In summary the construction professionals are comfortable with "hard"
  14. 14. 14management, as opposed to "soft" research management. Any changes to original research projectplans and re-thinking of concepts can be viewed by these professionals as poor project management,which disrupts their business. The industrialists are thirsty for quick business returns and are impatientwith "thinking" phases of the project. It is important to manage the expectation of the industrialists, sothat the researchers have room to explore, and at the same time the industrialists can expect somebusiness benefits. Consequently, the research team developed an incremental hand over plan, fromresearch concepts to commercial packages, which is shown in figure 4. During the early stages of thisplan (i.e. "academic concepts" in figure 4), the industrialists should expect re-thinking and re-examination of concepts. As these concepts take shape, the industrialists become more involved in thedevelopment of commercial packaging of concepts. The project management is "soft" in the earlystages, and becomes increasingly "hard" as the concepts are handed over to industrialists. The large contracting firm agreed in collaborating with the researchers, based on the plan in figure4. This plan was shared with the relevant practitioners and project managers, to set expectations.CASE STUDIESLevel 1 is the entry level to SPICE. Level 1 has no key processes and organisations at this level havelittle process focus. Level 1 organisations must focus on implementing level 2 key processes. Hence theprocess capability of an organisation is assessed against the key processes of levels 2 and above. Theresearchers assessed two design and build projects against level 2 of the SPICE framework. Bothprojects were in their construction phase. The objectives of the case study were to: -1) identify any process issues not addressed by the framework;2) determine if the recommendations derived are meaningful;3) to capture the experience of the project team; and
  15. 15. 154) to test the effectiveness of the assessment mechanism.The Assessment ProcessThe researchers introduced the model to senior project and contracts managers, in order to obtain theircommitment. They then briefed the project teams and conducted an assessment of the projects. Theproject teams consisted of senior and middle managers, as well as practitioners representing all workfunctions within the project. The assessment included questionnaires, interviews and a limiteddocument review. This approach is based on the CMM assessment approach (Zahran 1998). The researchers analysed the data from the questionnaires, interviews and document reviews. Atraceability matrix was used to assist the research team in the collation of data for each of theassessment tools employed, each finding being supported by multiple sources of data. For example, asingle finding may be supported by responses given in interviews with various members of staff andfrom reviewing project documentation. By not relying on a single source of data, the likelihood oferrors was reduced. To ensure confidentiality, a matrix format, similar to figures 4, was used to presentan overview of the assessment results, therefore ensuring the findings cannot be attributed to a singleemployee. The x-axis lists the key processes at level 2, the y-axis lists the process enablers. A clear cellindicates a mature process capability, whilst a shaded cell highlights process weaknesses, henceopportunities for improvement. The question marks on figure 4, show areas where inconclusive evidence was found during theassessment. In both case studies, the findings for ‘Brief and Scope of Work Management’ wereinconclusive, as this process focuses on the capture and management of client requirements, a processthat was performed in the pre-construction phase. The two case studies were undertaken too late in theproject life cycle to investigate this process. This led to the research finding that, during the assessmentof the construction phase of a project, the key process "Brief and Scope of Work Management" is
  16. 16. 16irrelevant and should be omitted. This key process must be analysed during the briefing and designphases of a project. The scope of the assessment did however include the management of changes to the brief, which isaddressed by the key process area "Project Change Management". The researchers shared each matrix results with the relevant project team to confirm that it was atrue representation of the project. Based on this, the team could agree improvement priorities.Case Study 1This was a £6m project. The project was running behind schedule and profit expectation was poor.However, it was viewed as a typical design and build project for the company. 12 project teammembers participated in the assessment process. The researchers developed results using data from each stage of the assessment process(questionnaires, interviews and document reviews). The researchers highlighted strengths andweaknesses for each key process area. A summary of the results can be found in a matrix, as in figure4. The complete results were presented in detail to the project team, so that individual issues could bediscussed and lead to improvement suggestions. The assessment highlighted a number of strengths. A review of project documentation revealedthat clear organisational directives and supporting procedures that provided guidance for performingmany of the process areas defined within the SPICE model. In addition, the questionnaires andinterviews confirmed that the project team contained many experienced and well-trained practitioners.The capability of the project to plan the work, track performance and manage subcontractors wasstrong. However, the assessment also found a number of important weaknesses. The interviews revealedmany different perceptions about the project goals and critical success factors. Primarily this was due
  17. 17. 17to poor communication between senior management and practitioners performing the work, an issueclearly highlighted by interviewing staff independently. This was resulting in confused prioritiesamongst staff. Although procedures existed, awareness of them was poor. Many practitioners used theirexperience to improvise. Although such examples were sometimes effective, many of the proceduresin use were not recorded, leading to problems when responsibilities were transferred to other membersof staff. In particular there was no defined method for managing design changes. A new member ofstaff that was assigned responsibility for this role was inadequately equipped to carry out this function.This was compounded by the absence of any training for this role. Although quality assurance audits were performed, issues of non-compliance were not actioned orfollowed up. The value of quality assurance was not understood by some members of staff. The auditswere ineffective at ensuring compliance with company procedures. The interviews also revealed that many of the staff were aware of improvements that needed to bemade. Although a mechanism for initiating change was available within the company procedures, itwas not visible to the project team, or driven by senior management. The team therefore made noattempt to address problems. All 12 members of the project team that participated in the case study attended a workshop toreview the strengths and weaknesses identified in the assessment. Some of the findings were queriedby individual members of the project team. Further discussions amongst the attendees confirmed thatthe results as they stood, were an accurate representation of the projects process capability. The resultsof the assessment provided a common and agreed basis from which to identify and plan improvements.Due to the case study being performed near to project completion, it was too late to implementimprovements on that particular project. However, the improvements have been taken on board at aregional level within the organisation and are to be implemented on future projects.
  18. 18. 18Case Study 2This was a £55m P.F.I. (Private Finance Initiative) project. The project was one of the early P.F.I.projects. The industry as a whole knew little about this procurement mechanism. At the start of theproject, it was classified as a high-risk project and consequently, the contractor had utilised a highlyexperienced team of senior managers and practitioners. The project was running ahead of schedule andwas perceived as a successful project. The SPICE assessment was conducted in a similar manner tocase study 1. 15 project team members participated in the assessment, representing a cross section ofstaff including senior management and practitioners. The case study results were analysed andarranged in a matrix, as in figure 4. This project was an example of good process practice. The assessment found that the team workedtowards common goals. The goals were clearly established at project commencement and effectivelycommunicated from senior management to all members of the project team. The project had tailoredorganisational procedures and standards to meet their specific requirements at the start of the project.These documented processes were implemented and were the basis for all management processes. A quality assurance audit schedule was used as a basis for verifying that procedures werecomplied. The value of this exercise was clearly understood by the majority of the project team.Significantly, points of non-compliance were actively pursued by senior management and tracked untilresolution. The major shortcoming highlighted by the assessment was that the processes were not reviewed ona periodic basis by the project team, to identify potential improvements. Some managers took the viewthat a live project does not have the time and resources for improvement efforts. Senior managementdismissed this view.
  19. 19. 19 A project team workshop reviewed the results from the SPICE assessment. The project teamagreed with the findings and suggested a number of improvements to address the weaknesseshighlighted. The project team also saw value in the SPICE as a tool for capturing process strengths,and transferring that knowledge to future projects. Organisation wide process improvement and good practice transfer is the focus of level 3 of theSPICE. This level has not been fully developed at this stage of the research. As a consequence of this assessment, the company is investigating mechanisms for creating aninfrastructure to capture and share good practice throughout the organisation.Panel of Experts OpinionThe case study findings were put to an industry panel of experts. Around 20 senior industrialists andacademics were represented on this panel. The panel found great potential value in the findings. Themajor recommendation of the panel was that SPICE should not be purely a diagnostic tool. Thediagnostic matrix should be used to determine improvement priorities. The senior project managers involved in SPICE recommend that SPICE should be used early, onall large contracts. The industrial (panel and project teams) verdict to date, is that SPICE is more usefulto large projects, than to the small projects.ANALYSIS OF FRAMEWORKBenefits from using SPICEThe observed benefits of SPICE can be listed as:§ SPICE creates a strong process focus within project teams.§ The framework identifies process strengths as well as weaknesses.
  20. 20. 20§ The assessment time is relatively short. It takes around 3 days on site, whilst only requiring the participation of the whole team for a briefing at the start of the assessment, and for a workshop to discuss the findings and determine improvement priorities.§ Though not part of the framework, the assessment process highlights cultural issues, as well as evaluating process management.§ SPICE creates a strong platform for discussing improvements and capturing implementation plans.Improvements Required in SPICEThe improvements needed to the model are: -§ The industrialists could not relate to some of the terminology. For example some sub-contractors did not understand the key process “Brief Management”. The sub-contractors believed that they do not manage a brief, but instead receive a scope of work. Hence this key process was changed to "Brief and Scope of Work Management". The sub-contractors could understand and relate to this key process.§ SPICE is still a research tool, rather than an industrial product, hence some documentation is still missing.§ SPICE will be more beneficial if it is applied to all stages of the life cycle, as many of project problems are typically locked in at pre-construction phases.§ The key process “Risk Management” is sometimes confused with Health & Safety “Risk Assessment”. The definition for this process requires more clarity. Therefore:§ “Health & Safety Management” is identified as a new key process. This will be added to level 2. This key process is not part of CMM’s original model, as it has no value in the software industry. In construction, health & safety is of major importance and requires significant focus.
  21. 21. 21§ During the construction phase, the key process “Brief & Scope of Work Management” has no specific meaning, as the brief has already been defined by this phase. The key process “Project Change Management” becomes important, during the construction phase. Hence in the future “Brief & Scope of Work Management” will be omitted from the SPICE questionnaire, during the construction phase.Observations Relating to the Assessment ProcessThe case study assessments were conducted by both assessors independent to the company and bypersonnel from the company QA department. The case studies revealed that project staff were morecomfortable discussing process management and cultural issues when only the independent assessorswere present, hence more information was forthcoming. Interviews conducted with internal QA staffpresent yielded less productive interviews. As mentioned previously, to date, the project managers see SPICE as more suitable for use withlarger projects. SPICE concepts are applicable to small projects as well as large projects. This suggeststhat the current assessment process is too resource consuming for smaller projects. Future case studies will examine how to reduce the cost and time of SPICE assessment, whilemaintaining its accuracy.SUMMARY This paper describes the concepts behind the SPICE project and explains its research methodology.SPICE intends to develop a stepwise process improvement methodology for the construction industry.This will be based on tailoring an existing successful model in the software industry, namely theCapability Maturity Model (CMM). Due to complex supply chain arrangements in the construction
  22. 22. 22industry, the usability, value and meaning of SPICE needs to be tested against various supply chainarrangements and procurement scenarios. This is shown in figure 2. The research has conducted case studies on two design and build projects, in a single organisation,during one phase of the life cycle (i.e. construction). The projects were tested against level 2 of theframework. The case studies have shown that SPICE: (i) creates process focus; (ii) is meaningful to projectteams; (iii) is a good process diagnostics tool; (iv) has a short assessment process; and (v) highlightssome cultural issues as well as process issues. The recommendation for improvements to the framework are that: (i) the scope of SPICE needs tobe extended so that it is a comprehensive improvement tool; (ii) terminology of the framework needsimprovement; (iii) a key process “Health & Safety Management” must be added to level 2. (iv) thedefinition of some key processes need clarity. The research will continue to examine the applicability of SPICE to other phases of the life cycleand also to supply chain issues.
  23. 23. 23REFERENCESBrandon, P.S. et. al (1999) Engagement Leading to Enchantment, in Linking Construction Industry Needs and Construction Research Outputs. CRISP Consultancy Commission 98/1, London.Egan, Sir J. (1998) Rethinking Construction. HMSO, London.Herbsleb, J. et al (1994) Software Process Improvement: State of the Payoff. American Programmer September.Imai, M. (1998) Kaizen: The Key to Japans Competitive Success. Mc-Graw-Hill, New York.Humphrey, W. "Managing the Software Process", Addison-Wesley, 1989.Latham, Sir M (1994) Constructing the Team. HMSO, London.Lillrank, P. (1995) The Transfer of Management Innovations From Japan. Organisation Studies, Organization studies, Vol.16/6, pp. 971-989.Paulk, M. C. et al (1993) Capability Maturity Model for Software v 1.0. Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University.Paulk, M.C., Weber, C.V., Curtis, B., Chrissis, M. B. (1995) The Capability Maturity Model: Guidelines for Improving the Software Process, Addison-Wesley, Massachusett.Saiedian, H., Kuzara, N. (1995) SEI Capability Maturity Model’s Impact on Contractors. IEEE Computer, January.Sarshar, M., et. al. (1998) Standardised Process Improvement for Construction Enterprises (SPICE). Proceedings of 2nd European Conference on Product and Process Modelling, Watford, UK.Sarshar (a), M., Finnemore, M., Haigh, R. (1999) SPICE: Is the Capability Maturity Model Applicable in The Construction Industry, 8th International Conference on Durability of Building Materials and Components (CIB W78), May 30 - June 3, Vancouver, CanadaSarshar (b), M., Haigh, R., Finnemore, M., Aouad, G., Barrett, P. (1999) Standardised Process Improvement For Construction Enterprises (SPICE): Research Methodology & Approach. Challenge of Change: Building & Construction in the New Millennium, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) COBRA Annual Conference, Salford, UK, 1-2 Sept. 1999.Starke, R.E., "The Art of Case Study Research", Thousand Oaks, Cali; London, Sage, 1995.Zahran, S. “Software Process Improvement: Practical Guidelines for Business Success”, Addison- Wesley 1998.
  24. 24. 24 Level 5 Continuous process improvement, Optimising across the organisation Level 4 Quantitative process control Managed across the organisation Level 3Standard consistent processes Defined across the organisationDisciplined processes for Level 2 each individual project Repeatable Level 1 Initial Figure 1 SPICE framework
  25. 25. 25Literature Search & OutputReference to original CMM Framework handbook & assessment toolSteering Committee Industrial& Industrial Panel of guidelinesExperts workshops booklet Seminars & club meetings on Evaluate via process questionnaires & improvement case studies Figure 2 Research Methodology
  26. 26. 26 industrial uptake industry led- complete industrial pilots documentation & training programs; hard project management; framework ready for use. industry / academic led- 3-4 case studies; industrial case studies more rigid project management; investigation of roles and responsibilities and reporting structures; by the end of this stage the deliverables are 90%-95% complete. academic led- 1-3 case studies; soft research case studies project management; by the end of this stage the deliverables are 80% complete.research concepts academic led- investigation and discussion of open concepts, formulation of requirements. Figure 3- An incremental approach to research project management and research uptake.
  27. 27. 27Key Strength Weakness ? Not determined Case Study 1 Case Study 2 Key Process Areas (Level 2) Key Process Areas (Level 2) Project Change Mgt. Project Change Mgt. Team Co-ordination Team Co-ordination Brief & Scope Mgt. Brief & Scope Mgt. Subcontract Mgt. Subcontract Mgt. Project Planning Project Tracking Project Planning Project Tracking Risk Mgt. Risk Mgt. Process Enablers Process Enablers Commitment ? Commitment ? Ability ? Ability ? Activities ? Activities ? Evaluation ? Evaluation ? Verification ? Verification ? Figure 4 Case Study Results Matrix