The People CMM: A Framework for Human Capital Management (2nd Edition)

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9780321553904: The People CMM: A Framework for Human Capital Management (2nd Edition)

Organizations are now competing in two markets, one for their products and services and one for the talent required to produce or perform them. Success in the former is determined by success in the latter. The ability to compete is directly related to the ability to attract, develop, motivate, organize, and retain the talented people needed to accomplish strategic business objectives.


The People CMM, as documented in this authoritative book, is a framework for human capital management. Broadly adopted by small and large organizations worldwide, it provides proven tools for addressing strategic workforce and critical people issues. It helps organizations: 

  • Establish workforce practices aligned with current and future business objectives
  • Characterize the maturity of workforce practices
  • Guide a program of continuous workforce development
  • Integrate workforce development with continual process improvement

People CMM®, Second Edition, documents Version 2 of the People CMM and 

  • Describes practices for each maturity level, with guidance on how to interpret and apply them
  • Explains capabilities for workforce development at each maturity level
  • Shows how to apply the framework as a workforce assessment standard and a guide in planning and implementing improvement
  • Presents case studies to illustrate how the People CMM has lead organizations to effective, repeatable, and lasting success in workforce development

The book is aimed at people responsible for developing and implementing human capital strategies and plans in their organizations, managing or developing the workforce, implementing advanced workforce practices, nurturing teams, and transforming organizational culture. It is especially useful for businesses undergoing critical organizational changes.

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About the Author:

Dr. Bill Curtis is the senior vice president and chief scientist at CAST, a leader in providing technology for measuring and evaluating application software quality. He coauthored the Capability Maturity Model (CMM), the People CMM, and the Business Process MM. Until its acquisition by Borland, he was the cofounder of and chief scientist at TeraQuest, a global leader in providing CMM-based services. He is a former director of the Software Process Program in the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to joining the SEI, Dr. Curtis worked for MCC, ITT’s Programming Technology Center, GE Space Division, and Weyerhaeuser, and also taught statistics at the University of Washington. While a staff psychologist in Weyerhaeuser’s Human Resources Department, he codeveloped the training for their performance appraisal system and conducted organizational effectiveness interventions in several divisions. Dr. Curtis holds a Ph.D. with emphasis in organizational psychology and statistics from Texas Christian University. He has published four books and more than 150 articles, and was recently elected a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers for his contributions to software process improvement and measurement.


Dr. William E. Hefley is a clinical associate professor at the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and the College of Business Administration at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the managing principal consultant with Pinnacle Global Management, LLC, a global consulting firm. He is also associated with ITSqc, LLC, whose mission is to evolve capability models and certification methods for organizations involved in sourcing relationships. He is currently working in the areas of IT-enabled sourcing from the perspectives of both service providers (the eSCM-SP) and their clients, and he led the effort to develop the eSCM for Client Organizations (eSCM-CL). Dr. Hefley teaches IT, service science, service innovation, and sourcing management courses, and is a frequent lecturer on service innovation and global software delivery. He also supervises graduate studies and projects related to sourcing relationships, software process management, human capital management, and knowledge management. He was previously on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University and was a senior member of the technical staff at the SEI, where he led the team that developed the People CMM. Dr. Hefley received his Ph.D. in organization science and information technology from Carnegie Mellon University. He also received an M.S. in engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.S.S.M from the University of Southern California. He also received a B.S. in computer science and political science, and a B.A. (with distinction) in psychology. He is currently on the editorial boards of several journals and is series editor for the Springer book series on Service Science: Research and Innovations in the Service Economy.


Sally A. Miller, coauthor of the People CMM, is currently a visiting scientist at the SEI. Previously, she managed the SEI’s People CMM effort, including the completion of the product suite and the transition to SCAMPI with People CMM. Ms.Miller has more than 23 years of service to the SEI as a human resources professional, senior member of the technical staff, and People CMM interface to major organizations. She has led People CMM assessments and consulting engagements across the United States. Before joining the SEI, she worked for Pittsburgh-based Fortune 500 organizations focusing on marketing, training, and development. She is a guest lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University and a graduate of Grove City College with concentrations in business administration and psychology.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The Need for an Agile Workforce

Organizations are now competing in two markets, one for their products and services and one for the talent required to produce or perform them. An organization's success in its business markets is determined by its success in the talent market. At the very time that business markets are expanding, talent markets seem to be shrinking. As the knowledge required to build products and deliver services increases, the retention of experienced employees becomes critical to improving productivity and time to market. In areas such as software development and nursing, the shortage of talent is so great that companies are beginning to offer incentives that were once available only to executives or professional athletes. In every domain of business, executives know that their ability to compete is directly related to their ability to attract, develop, motivate, organize, and retain talented people.

Yet the people-related challenges of the business stretch far beyond recruiting and retention. Competing for talent and recruiting the best is not enough, and focusing just on winning the "talent wars" can be damaging to the organization Pfeffer 01. As agility in responding to continual change in technological and business conditions has become critical to success, organizations must strive to create learning environments capable of rapidly adjusting to the changes engulfing them. A critical component of agility is a workforce with the knowledge and skills to make rapid adjustments and the willingness to acquire new competencies. In fact, an agile workforce may reduce some of the stress currently being experienced as a talent shortage.

Organizations have attempted to apply many different techniques in their efforts to move toward strategic human capital management. They combine downsizing with restructuring, apply reengineering or process improvement, clearly communicate the organization's mission, improve information sharing, institute employee involvement programs, establish formal complaint-resolution procedures, institute gain-sharing or other incentive plans, emphasize the importance of training the workforce, formalize performance management and feedback processes, perform job or work analysis and design, support job rotation, begin to establish team-based work designs, retrain employees to meet changing demands, provide flexible work arrangements, address diversity issues, conduct formal mentoring programs, and align business and human resource strategies Becker 96, Becker 98, Mirvis 97. What many organizations lack is a framework for implementing these advanced practices.

People Capability Maturity Model® Framework

The People Capability Maturity Model® (People CMM®) is a tool to help you successfully address the critical people issues in your organization. The People CMM employs the process maturity framework of the highly successful Capability Maturity Model® for Software (SW-CMM®) Carnegie Mellon University 95 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 their 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 their processes for managing and developing their 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. Since its release in 1995, thousands of copies of the People CMM have been distributed, and it is used by small and large organizations worldwide--IBM, Boeing, BAE SYSTEMS, Tata Consultancy Services, Ericsson, Lockheed Martin, and QAI (India) Ltd., to name a few.

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 an organization needs to accomplish its 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.

Structure of This Book

This book describes the People CMM, the practices that constitute each of its maturity levels, and information on how to apply it in guiding organizational improvements. It describes an organization's capability for developing its workforce at each maturity level. It describes how the People CMM can be applied as a standard for assessing workforce practices and as a guide in planning and implementing improvement activities. This book provides guidance on how to interpret its practices. It also presents case studies of organizations that have used the People CMM.

The first part of the book describes the rationale and evolution of the People CMM, the concepts of process maturity, the structure of the model, and how to interpret the model's practices; case studies of results are also here. The second part of the book contains the key practices of the People CMM--the individual, managerial, and organizational practices that contribute to maturing workforce capability. These practices describe an evolutionary improvement path from ad hoc, inconsistently performed practices, to a mature, disciplined development of workforce competencies, just as the Software CMM describes an evolutionary improvement path for the software processes within an organization. The third and final part of this book contains the appendices. Each part is described in the following section.

The Content of the People CMM

Part One, The People Capability Maturity Model: Background, Concepts, Structures and Usage, consists of seven chapters:
  • Chapter 1, The Process Maturity Framework, offers a broad view of the model; describes how 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; and provides background on the process maturity framework adopted by the People CMM.
  • Chapter 2, Overview of the People CMM, describes the maturity levels, or evolutionary plateaus at which the organization's practices have been transformed to achieve a new level of organizational capability, and presents a description of the characteristic behaviors of organizations at each maturity level.
  • Chapter 3, People CMM Process Areas, introduces the process areas in the model.
  • Chapter 4, The Architecture of the People CMM, describes the components of the model, including maturity levels, goals, and practices, which ensure that the implementation of process areas is effective, repeatable, and lasting. It introduces the typographical conventions used throughout the model.
  • Chapter 5, Interpreting the People CMM, provides insight into the meaning of the model for your organization.
  • Chapter 6, Using the People CMM, explains the ways in which your organization can use the model.
  • Chapter 7, Experience with the People CMM, presents data regarding experiences with the People CMM and examines four case studies.

Part Two, Process Areas of the People Capability Maturity Model, describes the practices that correspond to each maturity level in the People CMM. It is an elaboration of what is meant by maturity at each level of the People CMM and a guide that can be used for organizational improvement and assessment. For those who want to get a quick sense of the practices, without the rigor to apply them, an abridged version of the practices is provided in Appendix D.

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 different components, 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.

Each section in Part Two presents the process areas within each of these maturity levels:

  • The Managed Level: Maturity Level 2
  • The Defined Level: Maturity Level 3
  • The Predictable Level: Maturity Level 4
  • The Optimizing Level: Maturity Level 5

The four Appendices of the People CMM are as follows:

  • Appendix A, References, provides full citations to any information cited in the People CMM.
  • Appendix B, Acronyms, spells out the acronyms used in the People CMM.
  • Appendix C, Glossary of Terms, defines the terms that are not adequately defined in the context of this model by the Webster's American English Dictionary.
  • Appendix D, Practice-to-Goal Mappings for People CMM Process Areas, describes the maturity levels and the process areas that correspond to each maturity level of the People CMM, and purpose, goals, and practices of each process area. This view of the model is convenient when you want to quickly understand the content and flow of large portions of the model or if you are intimately familiar with it.


This book is addressed to anyone involved in the workplace, but especially those responsible for managing or developing the workforce, implementing advanced workforce practices, nurturing teams, and transforming organizational culture. It is especially useful for businesses undergoing critical organizational changes, such as downsizing, a merger, rapid growth, and change of ownership. It contains useful information for managers and supervisors who want guidance for managing their people. This book will help individuals trying to improve the workforce practices of their organizations, as well as those attempting to assess the maturity of these practices in organizations.

This book complements Watts Humphrey's Managing Technical People Humphrey 97a by formalizing and expanding the maturity framework described in that book. It also complements the Capability Maturity Model for Software Carnegie Mellon University 95 by addressing the workforce improvement practices necessary to ensure long-term continuous improvement. While the People CMM complements the SW-CMM, its applicability is not limited to software-intensive organizations. The People CMM practices have been applied in many organizations and can be applied in any organization, regardless of its business focus, size, or location.

This book does not describe all of the work being done by the authors or the Software Engineering Process Management Program of the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University. For instance, the SEI supports a People CMM Lead Assessor Track within the SEI Appraiser program to ensure an adequate supply of experts for conducting People CMM-based assessments. For further information regarding the SEI, its work with CMMs, or any of its associated products, contact:

SEI Customer Relations
Software Engineering Institute
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
Tel: +1-412-268-5800 / Fax: +1-412-268-5758
URL:, and

The SEI maintains a listing of authorized People CMM Lead Assessors on its Web site-- For more information about the People CMM Lead Assessor Program or training on the People CMM, contact:

  • Sally Miller, Carnegie Mellon University, Software Engineering Institute, 5000 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213 (412/268-5678; e-mail:
  • Palma Buttles-Valdez, TeraQuest Metrics, Inc., 12885 Research Blvd., Suite 107, Austin, TX 78750 (512/219-9152; e-mail:
  • Bill Hefley, Q-Labs, Inc., 305 S. Craig St., Suite 300, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 (724/ 935-8177; e-mail:

Feedback Information

The People CMM is a living document, shaped by the needs of organizations' rapidly evolving workplaces. More than 400 change requests helped shape this version of the People Capability Maturity Model.

The SEI continues to solicit feedback from its customers. We are very interested in your ideas for improving these products. You can help. For information on how to provide feedback, see the SEI Web site--


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Bill Curtis, William E. Hefley, Sally A. Miller
Published by Addison-Wesley Professional (2009)
ISBN 10: 032155390X ISBN 13: 9780321553904
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1

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