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Overview of the People Cabability Maturity Model

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This article provides an overview of the People CMM, which is an organizational change model. It is designed on the premise that improved workforce practices will not survive unless an organization's behavior changes to support them.
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2.1 Organizational Maturity

The People CMM is an organizational change model. It is designed on the premise that improved workforce practices will not survive unless an organization's behavior changes to support them. The People CMM provides a roadmap for transforming an organization by steadily improving its workforce practices. As do all Capability Maturity Models, the People CMM consists of five maturity levels, or evolutionary stages, through which an organization's workforce practices and processes evolve. At each maturity level, a new system of practices is added to those implemented at earlier levels. Each overlay of practices raises the level of sophistication through which the organization develops its workforce. Within this environment individuals experience greater opportunity to develop their career potential and are more motivated to align their performance with the objectives of the organization.

From the perspective of the People CMM, an organization's maturity is derived from the workforce practices routinely performed inside it, and the extent to which these practices have been integrated into an institutionalized process for improving workforce capability. In a mature organization, responsible individuals perform repeatable workforce practices as ordinary and expected requirements of their positions. The more mature an organization, the greater its capability for attracting, developing, and retaining the talent it needs to execute its business.

The People CMM is a process-based model; it assumes that workforce practices are standard organizational processes that can be improved continuously through the same methods that have been used to improve other business processes. The People CMM is constructed from workforce practices and process improvement techniques that have proven effective in many organizations. The only unique characteristic of the People CMM is its staged framework for introducing and steadily improving successful workforce practices.

Any Capability Maturity Model derived from Humphrey's original maturity framework integrates principles from three domains: the targeted domain of processes, total quality management practices, and organizational change. First, a CMM is designed to help an organization adopt best practices in a targeted domain. The CMM for Software targeted software engineering processes, while the People CMM targets workforce management processes. Second, processes in the targeted domain are continuously improved to become more effective and predictable using Total Quality Management concepts pioneered by Deming, Juran, Crosby, and others. Third, the CMM constitutes a unique approach to organizational development that introduces these practices in stages (maturity levels) to create a succession of changes in the organization's culture.

Changing an organization's culture through staged improvements to its operating processes is a unique approach to organizational development. These cultural changes provide much of the CMM's power for implementing lasting improvements and distinguish it from other quality and process improvement standards. Although many process standards can transform an organization's culture, few include a roadmap for implementation. Consequently, organizations often fail to implement the standard effectively because they attempt to implement too much too soon and do not lay the right foundation of practices.

The culture of an organization is reflected in the shared values and resulting patterns of behavior that characterize interactions among its members. Successful improvement programs guided by the People CMM change the fundamental attributes of its culture—its practices and behaviors. As an organization adopts the practices that satisfy the goals of the People CMM's process areas, it establishes the shared patterns of behavior that underlie a culture of professionalism dedicated to continuous improvement. Not surprisingly, most organizations report dramatic cultural changes as they progress through the People CMM's maturity levels.

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