A Framework to Establish People-related Best Practices


In her Personality Matters series, Leslie Sachs examines the personalities and people issues that are found in technology groups from cross-functional, high-performance teams to dysfunctional matrix organizations.

Level 3 Process Areas

Since the People Capability Maturity Model is based upon 5 maturity levels, you would normally focus on establishing the Level 2 processes before moving on to the Level 3 processes. That said, it has become common to work on some Level 3 processes with Level 2 processes in the CMMI and it might be the same for the People CMM as well..

Competency Analysis

In Competency Analysis, we identify the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities required to perform a particular activity. This is often linked back to training – especially when qualified candidates are difficult to find. Competencies are also essential in evaluating and improving performance.

Workforce Planning

Workforce planning involves identifying the resources needed for its current and future business activities. Through workforce planning, organizations may decide whether or not it is better to acquire new staff or develop their own in-house talent..

Competency Development

In Competency Development the organization can use the information gained in the Competency Analysis and Workforce Planning to determine its best course of action to develop the competencies required to perform the organization’s activities.

Career Development

Career Development helps to enable individuals to achieve their personal career objectives. Such Organizational support usually results in a more committed and effective workforce.

Competency Based Practices

Competency Based Practices help to ensure that all workforce practices are based upon development of the competencies of the workforce.

Workgroup Development

Workgroup development is an organizing mechanism which helps to put the right focus on competency based process abilities. Workgroups most often have a leader responsible and may exist for a short period of time to perform specific tasks.

Participatory Culture
High performance workgroups most often involve establishing a culture whereby everyone feels that they should and can participate – especially with regard to making important decisions that may impact the success of the group.

How Can We Organize the Process Areas?

It can be very difficult to plan and organize the activities necessary to establish the practice areas described in the People Capability Maturity Model. To help make this a little easier each of the process areas may be understood in terms of four process threads.

Process Threads

There are four process threads that help us to understand the process areas that we have discussed. They are:

    1. Developing Individual capability


    1. Building workgroups and culture


    1. Motivating and managing performance


  1. Shaping the workforce

Training and development along with Competency analysis and development are associated with developing the capabilities of individuals. Communication and coordination along with workgroup development and participatory culture are associated with building workgroups and culture. Compensation, performance, work environment along with career development and competency based practices are associated with motivating and managing performance.  Finally, staffing and workforce planning are associated with Shaping the workforce.

For this article, I used the excellent book written by Bill Curtis, William Hefley and Sally Miller entitled The People Capability Maturity Model – Guidelines for Improvement the Workforce, Addison-Wesley ISBN 0-201-60445-0.

There are many processes described in the People Capability Maturity Model, and, obviously it can be very difficult to decide where to get started. Frameworks that use a maturity model do provide some inherent guidance in terms of which practices should be accomplished first and which ones can pushed off to a later time. Obviously you will still have to decide which practices are a priority for your organization, although with the guidance from the SEI you have some powerful tools and information to help you get started and establish a comprehensive process improvement roadmap. Implementing the best practices described in the People Capability Maturity Model will help your organization achieve excellence by improving their most important and valued resource!

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