Interview: Ajay Prabhu (COO) and Sonia Kutty (GM-HR) of QuEST share their experience of implementing People CMM® in an engineering organization

Ajay Prabhu (AP) is the Chief Operating Officer and Sonia Kutty (SK)  is  General Manager – Human Resources  at QuEST. In this interview, they share their experiences in the transformation brought about at QuEST, through the People CMM® initiative.

QuEST (OBU – India, Bangalore) was appraised and rated at maturity level 3 of the People CMM® in June 2012, using the SCAMPI-A (v1.2) appraisal methodology. Read more details here.

Q:           Please tell us something about your professional history/ background

Ajay Photo 1Ajay Prabhu (AP):            Oh well, it started off with a flight from Bombay-to-Boston back in 1990. After graduating from National Institute of Technology, I joined a Masters program in the University of Massachusetts. Seven memorable and intellectually-enriching years later, I graduated with a PhD in high frequency electronics and joined Hewlett Packard in Sonoma County, California. Unlike most others with a PhD, I joined the manufacturing part of HP’s Test & Measurement Division. It was a great experience, going from a research environment to the hustle and bustle of the manufacturing floor. After a couple of years into the job, HP divested our division into an independent company – Agilent Technologies. It was an exhilarating time when the company was transforming; I too transformed alongside. In 2002, I decided to move back to India and have been with QuEST ever since. I have had a fantastic journey while learning and contributing to QuEST’s transformation from a small 200 people company to 4000 people fast-growing global enterprise.Sonia Photo 1

Sonia Kutty (SK):              Well, you could say I am a thoroughbred “Questian” since a major part of my career has been with QuEST. When I joined QuEST way back in 2002 we were a small company with 300 employees or so. Today we touch 4000 and it has been a tremendous journey.

Prior to QuEST, I worked with Toyota Kirloskar Motors in the Human Resource Planning Department.

Q:           Please tell us something about your organization, QuEST.

AP:         QuEST is indeed a nice story. Started by college graduates, who spotted an opportunity to build a business around better ‘customer focus’. This central theme has been the mainstay of QuEST growth since inception in 1997 in New York, USA.

The company was an early adopter of offshoring of Engineering Services when QuEST set up its India presence in 1998. QuEST is ‘Born to Engineer’; we are completely focused on providing engineering services to a  few marquee customers in Power Generation, Oil & Gas, Aerospace, Transport and Industrial verticals. QuEST is busy bringing engineers of many nationalities to work together as one seamless team to bring unprecedented value to our customers –  “Great quality at competitive pricing”. Today, QuEST employs close to 1000 American, 250 English, 250 Spanish, 100 Australian, 100 Italian and 2300 Indians working out of 29 different cities spread across the world. QuEST is a truly global engineering company. We have been doubling our staff every 24 months for quite a few years now.

Read the full post here


I am Rajesh Naik. I am an author, management consultant and trainer, helping IT and other tech companies improve their processes and performance. I also specialize in CMMI® (DEV and SVC), People CMM® and Balanced Scorecard. I am a CMMI Institute certified/ authorized Instructor and Lead Appraiser for CMMI® and People CMM®. I am available on LinkedIn and I will be glad to accept your invite. For more information please click here. To get email alerts for new posts, click here to subscribe.

How Mature is High Maturity Implementation of CMMI®? – Find out at the HMBP Colloquium on 7th September, 2012 in Bangalore, India

Over the last few years the implementation of high maturity practices has evolved significantly. Some of the evolution has been driven by changes to the model, but most of change is driven by sophisticated interpretation by LAs, and through the HMLA qualification/ certification program.

To “having a few control charts”, we have added “tests of hypotheses”, “regression equations”, “Monte Carlo Simulations”, “Comprehensive PPMs” to the pot churning out HM practices.

The HMBP Colloquium (an annual event in its 3rd year), showcases what leading organizations are doing and are planning to do., This year’s HMBP Colloquium is in Bangalore on September 7, 2012. It is aptly titiled “High Maturity – Beyond Statistics & Quantification”.

I am looking forward to understand the emerging direction. And meeting all of you.

I also hope to figure out the difference between a “Colloquium” and a “Conference”. 🙂

This Colloquium  was held on Sept 7, 2012 at Le Meridian, Bangalore.


I am Rajesh Naik. I am an author, management consultant and trainer, helping IT and other tech companies improve their processes and performance. I also specialize in CMMI® (DEV and SVC), People CMM® and Balanced Scorecard. I am a CMMI Institute certified/ authorized Instructor and Lead Appraiser for CMMI® and People CMM®. I am available on LinkedIn and I will be glad to accept your invite. For more information please click here. To get email alerts for new posts, click here to subscribe.