Category Archives: People CMM®

Adoption of People CMM® -02: Benefits Experienced

Many organizations have adopted the People CMM® model (by Bill Curtis, Bill Hefley, and Sally Miller) – while some have undergone formal appraisals and assessments, others have adopted the practices but not participated in any formal appraisal of their implementation.

Many of these organizations have reported benefits (attributable to the implementation of the People CMM®). Such reports are available in the Software Engineering Information Repository (SEIR). (You need to register yourself to get access to the repository – the registration is free).

Typically, benefits touted and linked with People CMM® hover around Employee Engagement Scores, Employee Voluntary Turnover/ Attrition, Cost of Hiring, Cycle-Time to Hire, Employee Productivity and Employee Utilization. (It is also interesting to note that in the same organization, credit for the same benefits are claimed by other competing initiatives like CMMI® implementation, ISO 9001, Six Sigma, and sometimes by specific improvement projects :-)).

In addition to the above benefits, entities that implement the People CMM® consistently across two to three years tend to display certain long-term changes in their behavior. It is these observed changes that are listed in the next few paragraphs. This set of benefits / changes have been observed across several organizations that have implemented People CMM®, and been appraised / assessed using a Class-A method at least once for maturity level 3 or higher.

The sequence of the benefits listed is not necessary in any order (of priority or significance or sequence of occurrence).  They are also not mutually exclusive – each benefit could be feeding on the other. Here goes:

SystemThe organization increasingly takes a systems approach to its people related processes and initiatives. It understands that a small change in one process can have a large impact on (apparently) unrelated areas, because all things are inter-dependent. So, proposed changes in the organization’s policies and processes, and new initiatives are evaluated on a more holistic basis.

For example, hiring a new batch of fresh graduates at higher salaries is looked at not just from the point of view of salary cost, but also the impact on the morale of the existing staff, their engagement levels, and the impact of diversion of funds from other activities like training, certifications, and so on.

Long TermImplementation of the model promotes a long-term thinking in terms of people –numbers, skills, locations, and roles.  Business plans are used to create workforce plans and people related strategies that span several years. Actions like opening new locations, building new skills and collaboration with external experts are identified well in advance to equip the organization to get ready for the future, in a cost-effective manner.

CollaborationThe model increases transparency, democracy and openness in the organization (People CMM® is not meant for secretive organizations :-)). Organizations set-up multiple channels communications for top-down, lateral and bottom-up movement of information. People are encouraged to participate more and more in decision making and empowered to challenge decisions taken by higher-ups. HR policies are no longer seen as cast-in-stone :-).

AgilityImplementing the People CMM® builds organizational agility and ability to execute cross-functional projects. Very few initiatives require the active participation and collaboration of all functions/ departments. People CMM® implementation requires extensive collaboration between “support” functions like HR, Facilities, and Learning & Development with the “mainline” delivery functions. The model builds the organizational muscle to handle cross organizational initiatives.

AutomationMost organizations end up with considerable level of automation of their people related practices. Aspects like performance management (goal setting, regular feedback, end-cycle feedback), compensation (normalization, rule-based increases and bonuses), promotions, training (planning and tracking), staffing (resource management, recruitment, selection, offer, joining, induction) are automated. In addition, these sub-systems get integrated and interlinked.

Analytics

Management of people related aspects becomes more data driven, and supported by data analytics.

For example, employee attrition is not looked at just as a month-on-month figure, but is subject to further analysis of patterns (are people of a career level more prone to attrition? Do people typically resign after spending a certain number of years in the company? Is attrition more common with people who possess a certain skill? Do people working outside their home state have a higher tendency to resign? Is there a linkage between the annual increment cycle and the peaks seen in attrition?).  The understanding achieved through the analytics is then used to change policies, or pay additional attention to a certain group of people.

The organization’s people management becomes drCompetentiven more by competencies, rather than by tenure, or career level. The shift is gradual – at first, the importance shifts from seniority to demonstrated performance, and then there is a gradually increasing emphasis on competencies (knowledge, skills and process abilities). This shift to competencies start rippling through various processes like project allocation, hiring, promotions, increments, and bonuses.

Growth ScaleImplementing the People CMM® practices enables the organization to handle scale/ growth very quickly. This is a knock-on effect of systems thinking and increased automation. The organization is able to hire faster, provide the required knowledge and skills quickly and gear up for large projects rapidly.

Business PartnerAnother change that is seen is that the HR function becomes more of a business partner. Line functions start demanding business value from HR processes, and when such value is delivered, increase the involvement of HR in overall business strategies and decision-making.

ManagerLine managers become better people managers, reducing the load on HR, and other support functions. Line managers start providing inputs to enhance performance, help people enhance their skills, and identify and organize the required training for their people. Managers address people related issues and take responsibility to enable their teams to achieve performance (rather than redirect their team members to HR, facilities, and other support functions). In other words, line managers become HR managers for their teams.

Given below, in bullet points (we are so used to bullet points :-)), are the benefits seen by organizations implementing People CMM®.

The adoption of the model:

  • drives a “systems” approach to its people related processes and initiatives
  • promotes a long-term thinking in terms of the people
  • increases transparency, democracy and openness
  • builds organizational agility and ability to execute cross-functional projects
  • increases the level of automation
  • makes the organization metrics and data analytics
  • drives a competency culture
  • enables handling of rapid growth and scale
  • makes the HR function become more of a business partner
  • transforms line managers to better people managers

The above is a set of benefits observed in some of the organization that have implemented People CMM®. You may have observed other benefits or long-lasting changes.

Other related posts uploaded on the same blog:

Please do share your experiences, comments and feedback by posting a reply/ comment.


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.

Adoption of People CMM® -01: Appraisal Results

The People CMM® (by Bill Curtis, Bill Hefley, and Sally Miller) has been available for more than 15 years. Version 1.0 of the model was released in 1995 and version 2.0 was released in 2001. So, maybe it is time to look at the extent of adoption by the industry and benefits accrued to organizations that have adopted the model.

There are many ways one can evaluate the extent of adoption; one way is to look at the volume of Class-A appraisals done (Class-A appraisals are the only recognized way of getting a maturity level in People CMM®). Earlier, the Class-A appraisals were done using People CMM® Assessment method. This method was replaced with the SCAMPISM-A appraisal method, since 2006-07.

See the latest post at: People CMM® Appraisals – 2014 Update

Without further verbiage, here is the data, in the form of a trend chart:No. of People CMM® Appraisals

Here is the data in a tabular format, with more details:No. of PCMM® Appraisals

Some context on the data above:

  1. Data for the years 2002-2007 is picked up from a presentation titled People Capability Maturity Model: Product Suite Maturity Profile (January 2008) by the People CMM® Team at the SEI.
  2. For the years 2008-2009, there is no officially compiled data easily available – the numbers are extrapolated based on the appraisals done by the most active Lead Appraisers in those years.
  3. The 2010-2011 data is picked up from the Published Appraisal Results website maintained by the CMMI Institute. Some appraisals may be missing from the data, if the appraised entity did not wish to publish the data (some organizations do not like the data to be published, some decline permission because they are embarrassed by the maturity level rating that they have got :-)).

Going back to the graph, there seems to be an alternating trend, every 2-3 years. There is a peak of 10+ appraisals, followed by a dip to around 4-5 appraisals in the next year. Maybe, People CMM® is a seasonal flavour! :-). [Actually the data points are too few to reach any conclusion about trends].

The numbers are not flattering – given that the model has been in the market for so many years, just 4-14 appraisals per year (across the whole wide world) is very low. Not more than 2 Lead Appraisers are required to handle this volume!

Further analysis of the past 15 appraisals (in the last 2 years 3 months) listed in the Published Appraisal Results website (with Filter People CMM® v2.0) maintained by SEI shows the following:

  • Geographic spread: India-8; China-3; Philippines-1; Oman-1; UK-1; Malaysia-1. It is interesting to note that there are no appraisals in the US.
  • Industry spread: IT-8; BPO-3; Banking-1; Utilities-1; Engineering-1. So, not a model “just for software organizations”.
  • Most of the appraisals are led either by Sankararaman Dhandapani or by Rajesh Naik of QAI India Ltd. The last fifteen appraisals are accounted for between four LAs (out of the 13 LAs listed for People CMM® in the SEI Partner Directory).

Hope the trend of low number of appraisals is broken in the coming years.

Other related posts uploaded on the same blog:

SM-SCAMPI is a service mark of Carnegie Mellon University.


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.

What comes first – SPC or a stable process?

An interesting topic, which has been discussed very often. In every discussion, people agree on what is right and what needs to be implemented. But in actual implementation the principles are forgotten. Therefore it is good to re-align ourselves to the basics time and again.

What is often seen in actual implementation of SPC (ineffective and incorrect implementation):

1)    A process is documented and used

2)    Data related to the process is collected

3)    When we need to do sub-process control (because we are aiming for High Maturity rating), an SPC chart is prepared.

4)    Data which are outliers are thrown out (root cause analysis is not possible, because the outlier data belongs belongs to a distant past, and the causes are lost in the mists of time)

5)    Control limits are recalculated

6)    Steps 4) and 5) are repeated till all (remaining) points demonstrate process stability

7)    The SPC parameters (center line, UCL/ UNPL, LCL/ LNPL) are declared as baselines and used for sub-process control. The fact that the limits are too wide or that a lot of data points were thrown out (without changing anything in the process) is ignored.

What we have in the above scenario is a maturity level 2/ 3 organization using maturity level 4 tools. Usage of tools alone does not increase maturity. We cannot create a stable process through the use of SPC, we can only confirm the stability of the process through SPC and get signals when the process is out of control or shows changes in trends.

The More Effective Implementation of SPC:

1)    A process is documented and used. As the process is used, variations in the interpretation of the documented process are qualitatively analyzed. Actions are taken to augment the process definition, training and orientation till the interpretation and the qualitative understanding of the process is consistent.

2)    Process compliance audits (PPQA audits) on the implementation of the process identify more actions that need to be implemented to fine-tune the definition, training and orientation related to the process.

3)    Once the audits show consistent compliance, data related to the process performance are collected. Integrity of the data is checked and the data collection process is streamlined and consolidated- till the collected data demonstrates the required credibility

4)    Now we start looking at the data somewhat quantitatively (without using full SPC) – does the trend chart show stability? Is it showing too much dispersion/ variation? Based on the findings, the definition, training and orientation related to the process is refined further

5)    This is point we start using SPC charts to confirm process stability. Each inflection of instability is analyzed. Corrective and preventive actions are identified to further standardize the process, based on analysis of past instability. Once we are sure that causes of those inflections are removed, we can remove the points from the analysis.

6)    We are still left with points which show instability, and our CAR analysis tells us that some of the causes are truly extremely rare events. These are then removed from the data pool. Now all the remaining points are a part of the process. If the process still shows instability, then we can do further analysis – are these really part of a single process? Beneath the surface, are there two or more processes, and we need to separate out the data (e.g., the process may behave differently in the “performance appraisal season”? :-))

Having followed all the above steps, we now have a basis (and hence baseline) for an effective implementation of SPC.

Remember: We cannot create a stable process through the use of SPC, we can only confirm the stability of the process through SPC.


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.

Size Does Matter! (for baselines and sub-process control) -Continued

Let us take the example of  examination/ test centers, that run an exam throughout the year, every day. Past one-year data shows – 30% of the candidates pass the exam and 70% fail the exam, all over India.

The Bangalore test center handles around 1000 candidates per month, whereas the Mysore center handles around 100 per month. Over the last one year, both centers have shown the same 30 pass: 70 fail ratio.

For the month of June 2010, one center has reported 38% pass and another has reported 29% pass. Which center (Bangalore or Mysore) is more likely (has a higher probability) to have reported 38%?

Well, Mysore is more likely to have the higher deviation from the average (+8%) than Bangalore (-1%), because Mysore, handling lesser candidates, has a lesser number of opportunities to “average out”. An easy way to figure this out is to take the case of a center that handles only 1 candidate. This center can have either 0% or 100%  pass percentage; a -30% to +70% deviation from the average.

Let us now get back to the process performance baselines that we create and the way we do sub-process control. Here are some things that we need to keep in mind while creating, publishing and using baselines:

1) Baseline (mean and standard deviation) for a sub-process parameter (like coding productivity) will be different depending on whether we consider each the coding phase of each project as a data point, or we consider each program coded in each project as a data point. The standard deviation in the first case (large base) is likely to be smaller than the second case (small base).

2) When we publish performance baseline data, we need to qualify it with the level of detail at which it applies.

3) When we use the baseline data to do sub-process control, it needs to be applied to the same level of detail. So, to do sub-process control on program level coding productivity, we need to use the baseline that was created using programs as data points (not each project as a data point).

4) Baselines need to be created using similar situations of the base data. For example, we cannot combine the coding productivity on large programs with the productivity on small programs. Even if the average/ mean remains the same, the standard deviation will be higher when we take data from a smaller base as against a larger base.

The above points are not just “nits” but have an impact of the usefulness of baselines and sub-process control. Incorrect usage of baselines leads to incorrect displays of process instability / stability.


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.

Size Does Matter! (for baselines and sub-process control)

Here is a small brain-teaser.

Let us take the example of a examination/ test centers, that run an exam throughout the year, every day of the year. Analysis of the past one-year data shows that 30% of the candidates pass the exam and 70% fail the exam, all over India.

The Bangalore test center handles around 1000 candidates per month, whereas the Mysore center handles around 100 per month. Over the last one year, both centers have shown the same 30 pass: 70 fail ratio.

For the month of June 2010, one center has reported 38% pass and another has reported 29% pass. Which center (Bangalore or Mysore) is more likely (has a higher probability) to have reported 38%? Why do you think so?

See my post dated August 3, 2010 for the answer and implications.


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.

Why Can’t Metrics be Used for Performance Appraisals?

While discussing collection and usage of metrics, one often hears an emphatic “We should not use metrics for individual performance management!”. The statement is made as if it is an unquestionable tenant of the religion called process management.

“And pray, why not?” Why should the performance management process be deprived of metrics? A process oriented organization would definitely not like to boast that their performance management system is completely subjective.

Here are some reasons why metrics should be used for individual performance management.

*    An individual performance management (including the appraisal part) needs to be SMART – the “M” stands for measurable.

*    Most individual performance parameters are the similar to and derived from the project, product and process objectives, they typically relate to cycle time, quality (defects), meeting commitments (schedule) and productivity (cost, effort and usage of resources).

*    A strong metrics system, that provides accurate, precise and valid data can support the project, process and individual performance management requirements.

*    Using the same sources of data, we can create a more aligned organization – the individual objectives are aligned to the project, product and process objectives. In this manner, individuals know that meeting their individual goals helps in meeting the other goals (and vice versa); conflict of interest is minimized.

The situations where we may not want to use process/ project metrics for managing individual performance are:

*    The metrics collection system is not stable, and there questions on the credibility of the data. In such a case, the use of the data for managing the project/ process is also diluted.

*    Usage of the data for individual performance management may make the individuals sabotage the process and the accuracy of the metrics. In which case, we need to strengthen the process and make it sabotage proof.

In the old SW-CMM® days, most metrics collection systems were unstable, and hence many experts of that time were pretty insistent on the metrics not being used for performance appraisals – some organizations even have policy level statements for the same!

We have now moved on from the SW-CMM® days for process management, so we need to move on in other aspects too.

Your comments?


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.

Generating Lots of Data through Monte Carlo (a misuse?!?)

I have seen the metrics groups of organizations generating “enough” data for creating process performance baselines, from very few available data points, using Monte Carlo simulation.

Here is the method they use: Ten data points are available; using the pattern of the ten data points, they generate a thousand (or maybe a million) data points using Monte Carlo simulation. Now they feel that they have enough data points to generate a baseline.

But in reality the baseline has been generated using 10 data points. The 1000 data points only give a feeling of having lots of data and this is clearly a misuse of Monte Carlo simulation.


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.

Normal Distribution is Actually Rare

When we often use statistical analysis tools and techniques, the underlying assumption is that process/ sub-process displays a “normal” behavior. Even if the limited data that we have shows non-normal behavior, we assume that the reason is the lack of data, and we approximate the distribution to normal.

This assumption and subsequent analysis, conclusions and decisions are therefore inaccurate, especially if we are combining “assumed” normal behavior across multiple processes, viz Process Performance Modeling.

“Normal” behavior is very rare in real life. For example, you travel from your home to office, let us say usually in 1 hour. The least time you have ever done the trip is in 30 mins. If the distribution was normal, the worst time should have been 1 hour 30 mins (symmetrical on both sides). You will find that on some days that you were delayed, the time could have been 2 or even 3 hours!

Another way of saying that real life does not behave in a “normal” way, is “there is a limit on how well you can do, but no limit on how badly you can screw up!”

There is more on this in the books “Fooled by Randomness” and “Black Swan” by Nassim Taleb — must-reads for anyone involved in high maturity CMMI® implementation.

Also see:


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.

People CMM® Appraisal Results now on CMMI Institute Website

People CMM® appraisal results are now published on CMMI Institute (earlier SEI’s website) https://sas.cmmiinstitute.com/pars/pars.aspx

Many organizations have benefited from the implementation of People CMM(R). However, till now, there was no easy way to communicate successful appraisal result to all relevant stakeholders.

Starting 2010, all People CMM® SCAMPISM Class A appraisal results will be published on the PARS website (after appropriate permissions and quality checks).

So, now you have one more reason to pursue and validate your HR related improvements using the People CMM®, the de facto standard for world-class people related processes.

SM – SCAMPI is a service mark of Carnegie Mellon University.


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.