The last five or six years have witnessed a revolution in well construction contracting practices. However, performance has continued to evolve incrementally instead of showing the step change that was predicted by those who advocated such a radical change. There are a number of factors that are likely to have contributed to this situation. The review presented here suggests that the major problem stems from a shortcoming in the way alliance teams are built. It is suggested that a single coherent structure which joins business process, performance measurement and organisational structure into the delivery of an end result will produce the desired step change in performance. Exceptional performance cannot be delivered through structure and process alone. Effective teams require inspired leaders who are capable of directing the team's energies towards challenging, yet achievable, targets.