Thursday, August 9, 2012


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The People Capability Maturity Model is a tool that helps in successfully addressing the critical people issues in organizations. The People CMM employs the process maturity framework of the highly successful Capability Maturity Model for Software as a foundation for a model of best practices for managing and developing an organization’s workforce. The Software CMM has been used by software organizations around the world for guiding dramatic improvements in its ability to improve productivity and quality, reduce costs and time to market, and increase customer satisfaction. Based on the best current practices in fields such as human resources, knowledge management, and organizational development, the People CMM guides organizations in improving processes for managing and developing workforce. The People CMM helps organizations characterize the maturity of their workforce practices, establish a program of continuous workforce development, set priorities for improvement actions, integrate workforce development with process improvement, and establish a culture of excellence.

The People CMM consists of five maturity levels that establish successive foundations for continuously improving individual competencies, developing effective teams, motivating improved performance, and shaping the workforce the organization needs to accomplish its future business plans. Each maturity level is a well-defined evolutionary plateau that institutionalizes new capabilities for developing the organization’s workforce. By following the maturity framework, an organization can avoid introducing workforce practices that its employees are unprepared to implement effectively. Each maturity level provides a layer in the foundation for continuous improvement of the organization’s workforce capability. Achieving each level of the maturity model institutionalizes a different component of workforce capability, resulting in an overall increase in the workforce capability of the organization. Each process area comprises a set of goals that, when satisfied, stabilize an important component of workforce capability. Each process area is described in terms of the practices that contribute to satisfying its goals. The practices describe the infrastructure and activities that contribute most to the effective implementation and institutionalization of the process area. The following diagram shows the different levels in the PCMM framework.


The People Capability Maturity Model is a roadmap for implementing workforce practices that continuously improve the capability of an organization’s workforce. Since an organization cannot implement all of the best workforce practices, the People CMM introduce them in phases or levels. Each progressive level of the People CMM produces a unique transformation in the organization’s culture by equipping it with more powerful practices for attracting, developing, organizing, motivating, and retaining its workforce. Thus, the People CMM establishes an integrated system of workforce practices that matures through increasing alignment with the organization’s business objectives, performance, and changing needs.

The People CMM’s primary objective is to improve the capability of the workforce. Workforce capability can be defined as the level of knowledge, skills, and process abilities available for performing an organization’s business activities. Workforce capability indicates an organization’s

· Readiness for performing its critical business activities,

· Likely results from performing these business activities,

· Potential for benefiting from investments in process improvement or advanced technology.

In order to measure and improve capability, the workforce in most organizations must be divided into its constituent workforce competencies. Each workforce competency represents a unique integration of knowledge, skills, and process abilities acquired through specialized education or work experience. Since the People CMM is an evolutionary framework, it guides organizations in selecting high priority improvement actions based on the current maturity of their workforce practices. The benefit of the People CMM is in narrowing the scope of improvement activities to those vital few practices that provide the next foundational layer for developing an organization’s workforce. By concentrating on a focused set of practices and working aggressively to install them, organizations can steadily improve their workforce and make lasting gains in their performance and competitiveness. The People CMM is popular because it allows organizations to characterize the maturity of their workforce practices against a benchmark being used by other organizations. Many workforce benchmarks focus on employee attitudes and satisfaction rather than workforce practices.


The components of the structure of the People CMM include

1. Maturity levels

2. Process areas

3. Goals

4. Practices

The architectural structure of the People CMM is depicted in the figure shown below. Practices represent guidelines for satisfying process area goals, which in turn provide the objectives and scope of a process area. Process areas contribute the means by which the organization is transformed at each maturity level to produce a new organizational capability.

1. Maturity Levels

The People CMM consists of five maturity levels that lay successive foundations for continuously improving talent, developing an effective workforce, and successfully managing the human capital of an organization. Each maturity level is a well-defined evolutionary plateau that establishes and institutionalizes a level of capability for improving the workforce within the organization. The five maturity levels provide the top-level structure of the People CMM. Each maturity level is composed of several process areas (PAs). Each process area contains a set of goals that, when satisfied, establish that process area’s ability to affect workforce capability.

The Initial Level - Maturity Level 1

Organizations at the Initial Level of maturity usually have difficulty retaining talented individuals. Low maturity organizations are poorly equipped to respond to talent shortages. Organizations at the Initial Level typically exhibit four characteristics

1. Inconsistency in performing practices,

2. Displacement of responsibility,

3. Ritualistic practices, and

4. An emotionally detached workforce.

Managers and supervisors in low maturity organizations are ill prepared to perform their workforce responsibilities and their management training is sparse. The organization may typically provide forms for guiding workforce activities such as performance appraisals or position requisitions. However, sufficient guidance or training is not offered for conducting the activities supported by these forms. As a result, managers are left to their own devices in most areas of workforce management. Since low maturity organizations rarely clarify the responsibilities of managers, inconsistencies are to be expected. Consequently the way people are treated depends largely on personal orientation, previous experience, and the individual “people skills” of their manager, supervisor, or team leader. While some managers perform their workforce responsibilities diligently, others perform some workforce activities with little forethought and ignore other responsibilities altogether. They perceive management to be about producing results, not about creating and developing people who produce results. However, in launching People CMM-based improvements, managers must be held accountable for performing basic workforce practices even though their personal methods for performing them may differ.

The Managed Level - Maturity Level

The first step toward improving the capability of the workforce is to get managers to take workforce activities as high priority responsibilities of their job. They must accept personal responsibility for the performance and development of those who perform the unit’s work. The practices implemented at Maturity Level focus a manager’s attention on unit-level issues such as staffing, coordinating commitments, providing resources, managing performance, developing skills, and making compensation decisions. Building a solid foundation of workforce practices within each unit provides the bedrock on which more sophisticated workforce practices can be implemented at higher levels of maturity. In a Maturity Level organization, managers are vigilant for any problems that hinder performance in their units. Frequent problems that keep people from performing effectively in low-maturity organizations include Work overload, Environmental, Distractions, Unclear performance objectives or feedback, Lack of relevant knowledge, Poor communication, and Low morale.

As an organization achieves Maturity Level , units become stable environments for performing work. Units are able to balance its commitments with available resources. They can manage their skill needs, both by acquiring people with needed skills and through developing the skills of those already in the unit. Managers are focused on managing individual performance and coordinating individual contributions into effective unit performance.

The Defined Level - Maturity Level

Organizations at the Repeatable Level find that, inspite of performing basic workforce practices, there is inconsistency in how these practices are performed across units and little synergy across the organization. The organization misses opportunities to standardize workforce practices because the common knowledge and skills needed for conducting its business activities have not been identified and communicated. Once a foundation of basic workforce practices has been established in the units, it is then required for the organization to develop an organization-wide infrastructure atop these practices that ties the capability of the workforce to strategic business objectives.

The primary objective of the Defined Level is to help an organization gain a competitive advantage from developing the various competencies that must be combined in its workforce to accomplish its business activities. These workforce competencies represent critical pillars supporting the strategic business plan, since their absence would otherwise pose a severe risk to strategic business objectives. In tying workforce competencies to current and future business objectives, the improved workforce practices implemented at Maturity Level become critical enablers of business strategy. At Maturity Level , the organization builds an organization-wide framework of workforce competencies that establishes the architecture of the organization’s workforce. Each workforce competency is an element of the workforce architecture, and dependencies among competency-based processes describe how these architectural elements interact.

At the Defined Level, the organization adapts its workforce practices to its business needs by focusing them on motivating and enabling development in its workforce competencies. Once workforce competencies are defined, training and development practices can more systematically focus on developing the knowledge, skills, and process abilities. Further, the existing experience in the workforce can be organized to accelerate the development of workforce competencies in those with less skill and experience. A common organizational culture typically develops as the organization achieves the Defined Level. Since these workforce competencies are strategic to the business, the organization reinforces their importance by developing and rewarding them. As a result, the entire workforce begins sharing responsibility for developing increasing levels of capability in the organization’s workforce competencies.

The Predictable Level - Maturity Level 4

At the Predictable Level, the organization manages and exploits the capability created by its framework of workforce competencies. The organization is now able to manage its capability and performance quantitatively and is able to predict its capability for performing work because it can quantify the capability of its workforce and of the competency-based processes they use in performing their assignments.

The framework of workforce competencies enables the organization to better exploit the capabilities of its workforce and can be done in three ways.

· When competent people perform their assignments using proven competency based processes, management trusts the result that is produced. This trust enables the organization to preserve the results of performing competency-based processes and develop them as assets to be reused by others. In essence, people trust the asset because they trust the methods through which it was produced. When these assets are created and used effectively, learning spreads more rapidly through the organization and productivity rises when reuse replaces redevelopment.

· The trust also gives managers the confidence they need to empower workgroups. In achieving Maturity Level 4, management senses less risk in empowering workgroups and is willing to delegate increasingly greater levels of authority for managing day-to-day operations and for performing some of their own workforce practices. Increasingly free of managing operational details, managers at Maturity Level 4 are able to turn their attention to more strategic issues.

· When members of each workforce competency community have mastered their competency-based processes, the organization is able to integrate different competency-based processes into a single multidisciplinary process.

The quantitative management capabilities implemented at Maturity Level 4 provide management with better input for strategic decisions, while encouraging delegation of operational details to those at lower organizational levels.

The Optimizing Level - Maturity Level 5

At the Optimizing Level, the entire organization is focused on continual improvement. These improvements are made to the capability of individuals and workgroups, to the performance of competency-based processes and to workforce practices and activities. The organization uses the results of the quantitative management activities established at Maturity Level 4 to guide improvements at Maturity Level 5. Maturity Level 5 organizations treat change management as an ordinary business process to be performed in an orderly way on a regular basis. Although several individuals may be performing identical competency-based processes, they frequently exhibit individual differences in the methods and work styles they use to perform their assignments. At Maturity Level 5, individuals are encouraged to make continuous improvements to their personal work processes by analyzing their work and making needed process enhancements.

At Maturity Level 5, the process performance data collected across the organization is evaluated to detect instances of misalignment. Further, the impact of workforce practices and activities is evaluated to ensure they are encouraging rather than discouraging alignment. Corrective action is taken to realign performance objectives and results when necessary. Innovative practices that demonstrate the greatest potential for improvement are identified and evaluated in trial applications and if found effective, they are deployed throughout the organization. This makes the workforce capability continually improving and this improvement occurs through both incremental advances in existing workforce practices and adoption of innovative practices and technologies. The culture created in an organization routinely working at the Optimizing Level is one in which everyone strives to improve their own capability, and contributes to improvements in the performance of their workgroup, unit, and the organization. Workforce practices are honed to support a culture of performance excellence.

2. Process Areas

Each process area organizes a set of interrelated practices in a critical area of workforce management, such as staffing, compensation, or workgroup development. Each of these areas constitutes an important organizational process. The process areas at each level of maturity create an inter-linked system of processes that transform the organization’s capability for managing its workforce, where a Process Area (PA) is defined as a cluster of related practices that, when performed collectively, satisfy a set of goals that contribute to the capability gained by achieving a maturity level. Each process area contains a set of goals that, when satisfied, establish that process area’s ability to affect workforce capability. Process areas identify both the capabilities that must be institutionalized to achieve a maturity level, and the practices that an organization should implement to improve its workforce capability. The following diagram shows the process areas.

3. Goals

Each process area contains three to five goals stating the objectives it was designed to accomplish. These goals constitute the requirements an organization should satisfy in implementing the workforce practices in a process area. Collectively they indicate the scope, boundaries, and intent of the process area. Goals apply to only one process area and address the unique characteristics that describe what must be implemented to satisfy the purpose of the process area. Goals apply to only one process area and address the unique characteristics that describe what must be implemented to satisfy the purpose of the process area. The goals of a process area summarize the states that must exist for that process area to have been implemented in an effective and lasting way and the extent to which the goals have been accomplished.

Goal achievement can be used to determine whether an organization has effectively implemented a process area. A process area has not been satisfactorily implemented until all its goals accurately describe the organization’s behavior or state of affairs. When the goals of all process areas included at a maturity level have been satisfied, the organization will have achieved the maturity level and established a new level of capability in managing its workforce.

4. Practices

Each process area is described in terms of the practices that contribute to satisfying its goals. The practices, when collectively addressed, accomplish the goals of the process area. The workforce practices in each process area provide guidance for improving an organization’s capability to manage and develop its workforce. These practices have been selected for inclusion because they contribute to satisfying process area goals. However, these are neither an exclusive nor an exhaustive list of the practices an organization might implement in pursuing the goals of a process area. Nevertheless, when the recommended workforce practices are performed collectively, the organization will achieve the collective states described by the goals of the process area.

Practices are expected model components and describe what practices an organization that is achieving a set of goals will typically implement. The practices are meant to guide individuals and groups implementing improvements or performing assessments. Both the practice as described, or acceptable alternatives to them, must be present in the planned and implemented processes of the organization before goals can be considered satisfied. “Practice” is used throughout the People CMM to refer to standard, defined workforce management processes. These processes may be defined at various organizational levels.


The People CMM help organizations to

· Characterize the maturity of their workforce practices

· Guide a program of continuous workforce development

· Set priorities for immediate actions

· Integrate workforce development with process improvement

· Establish a culture of professional excellence

The value of the People CMM is in the way that organizations use it. The People CMM can be applied by an organization in two primary ways

· As a guide in planning and implementing improvement activities, and

· As a standard for assessing workforce practices.

Most of the experience in applying the People CMM has been in the software and information technologies industries, and the lessons learned in these industries should be relevant to most other segments of industry and government as well. Since its release in 15, the People CMM have been used throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and India to guide and conduct organizational improvement activities.






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