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The People Capability Maturity Model
By Tanuj Vohra - 2004-06-01 Page:  1 2 3

Guidelines for Improving the Workforce

by Bill Curtis, William E. Hefley, and Sally A. Miller (Editors)
Addison-Wesley, 2001
ISBN: 0-201-60445-0
Cover Price: US$59.99
(587 Pages)
Download pdf version (66 K)

In recent years, many software companies around the world have adapted the highly successful Capability Maturity Model for Software (SW-CMM) to guide software process improvement programs. The model, elaborated by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University in 1991, is a staged process: At every stage (maturity level), it establishes a foundation of practices. Each successive stage leverages the practices laid out in earlier stages to implement increasingly sophisticated practices.

The SW-CMM has one big problem, though: It is technology focused, not people focused. When a severe workforce shortage struck the software industry in the 1990s, it raised new issues for companies: high turnover; increased workloads and stress; escalating salaries and benefits. These were issues that the SW-CMM was not designed to cope with, so in 1995, SEI developed a new framework to improve workforce practices, especially in knowledge-intensive organizations. This framework, the People Capability Maturity Model (P-CMM), is designed to help organizations address their critical people issues by improving the capability of their workforce.

This book from Addison-Wesley serves as an excellent guide to help organizations understand and successfully implement the P-CMM. It is authoritative and provides a good understanding of the concepts behind P-CMM. And it comes straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak: Bill Curtis was the principal architect and author of P-CMM, William E. Hefley is a resident affiliate of the SEI, and Sally A. Miller is a member of the SEI technical staff. The book does a great job of explaining not only the concepts, but also the principles that define the model. In addition, it offers suggestions on how to go about implementing the model and interpreting the results.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part is an overview of the structure and concepts of the model, as well as how to use it. It advises organizations on how to interpret and best apply the P-CMM and its practices. It includes brief case studies on organizations that have successfully implemented the P-CMM, and explains how it has helped them develop a more effective and efficient workforce.

The second part describes the practices that correspond to each maturity level in the P-CMM, focusing on the framework within which they can deliver sustainable results for the organization.

The third part, the Appendices, includes a useful section on goal mapping. This can help an organization assess whether or not a practice has been successfully implemented, and to evaluate results.

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First published by IBM developerWorks

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