Introduction to People Capability Maturity Model (PCMM)

The People Capability Maturity Model framework was developed by Carnegie Mellon University, Software Engineering Institute to define the organizational maturity of people processes and practices. It helps the businesses to manage knowledge workers across global borders, as well as between graying and millennial generations. It is the framework that addresses the needs of employees, their competencies and the processes that need to be in place to ensure an organization is continuously improving and able to meet business needs effectively and efficiently and ranks on a scale 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest achievable maturity level.

The People Capability Maturity Model (PCMM) is a well documented set of practices that enable growing original workforce competencies. It is more of a strategic management framework for building and growing original competencies. The PCMM practices help to retain, grow and nurture competent individuals. PCMM is an evolutionary framework that guides organizations in selecting high priority improvement actions based on the current maturity of their workforce practices. It is conceptual model based on state-of-the-art workforce practices. It focuses on continuously improving the management and development of the human assets of an organization.

The PCMM 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 PCMM provides a roadmap for transforming an organization by steadily improving its workforce practices. Similar to other Capability Maturity Models, the PCMM 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 overlaid on 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.

People Capability Maturity Model (PCMM)

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

PCMM, is a certification given by QAI. It is an HR initiative. PCMM is a tool that helps to successfully address the critical people issues in the organization. The PCMM’s primary objective is to improve the capability of the workforce. The PCMM consists of five maturity levels. Since an organization cannot implement all of the best workforce practices in an afternoon, the PCMM introduces them in stages. By following the maturity framework, an organization can avoid introducing workforce practices that its employees are unprepared to implement effectively. 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. The People CMM allows organizations to characterize the maturity of their workforce practices against a benchmark being used by other organizations.

Although many process standards can transform an organizations 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 PCMM change the fundamental attributes of its culture-its practices and behaviors.

The PCMM contains several best practices that help to implement and improve communication practices in the organization. In skill intensive industries like software, the development of human capital is the key to success. About a decade ago, there was no yardstick for measuring development policies for human capital in a company. PCMM is similar to Capability Maturity Model (CMM) which was designed to measure the software maturity levels of the IT companies. The main objective of the certification to this model is to enhance the people capability and the hiring and other HR practices of the companies. The model proposes to develop a systematic approach for developing the standards of human capital management of an organization. The model offers guidance to the companies on how to enhance the business value of its human resources through world-class practices. The certification as per the standards provides an objective evaluation of the HR practices of the company. It helps create a better image in the outside world that the company has consistent and stable HR policies thereby creating a brand value for the same. It improves the hiring capability tremendously and helps in understanding the strengths and weaknesses from people perspectives.

Similar to the basic CMM model, there are five maturity levels in this model also. It involves an independent evaluation process where external assessors registered with the Carnegie University appraise the corporations in specific people management areas and assign it a particular level of maturity if it has the pre-determined standards of organizational maturity. From level 1 to 5, the maturity in HR practices improve greatly. While PCMM level 1 company only has limited capabilities in place, a level 5 company would be known for its best practices and HR processes. The motivation for the PCMM is to radically improve the ability of software organization to attract, develop, motivate, organize and retain the talent needed to continuously improve software capability. The people CMM is designed to allow organizations work force improvement with process improvement programs guided by the SW-CMM. The people CMM can also be used by any kind of organization as a guide for improving their people related and workforce practices.

Based on the current practices in the fields such as human resources, knowledge management and organizational development, the PCMM provides organizations with guidance on how to gain control of their processes for managing and developing their workforce. The PCMM helps organizations to characterize the maturity of their workforce practices, guides a program of continuous workforce development, set priorities for immediate actions, integrate work force development with process improvement and establish a culture of excellence. It describes an evolutionary improvement path from ad hoc, inconsistently performed practices, to mature; disciplined development of the knowledge, skills and motivation of the workforce, just as CMM describes an evolutionary improvement path for the software processes within an organization.

The PCMM consists of five maturity levels that lay successive foundation for continuously improving talent, developing effective teams and successfully managing the people assets of the organization. Each maturity level is a well-defined evolutionary plateau that institutionalizes a level of capability for developing the talent with the organization. Except for Level 1, each maturity level is decomposed into several key process areas that indicate the areas, an organization should focus on to improve its workforce capability to satisfying its goals. The key practices describe the infrastructure and activities that contribute most to the effective implementation and institutionalization of key process area.

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