Interview: Vinod Sood of Hughes Systique on the People CMM® as a workforce improvement framework

Vinod Sood Photo 1

Vinod Sood (VS)  is the Managing Director at Hughes Systique. In this interview, he shares why his organization selected the People CMM® for the next organizational transformation. He also articulates the expectations from implementing the People CMM® at HSC.

Q: Please tell us something about your organization, Hughes Systique.

VS: Hughes Systique Corporation (HSC), a part of the Hughes group of companies, is headquartered in Rockville Maryland with its Global R&D and Delivery center in Gurgaon, India. HSC is a leading provider of technology services (Engineering R&D services and Outsourced Product Development)  in the communications, embedded and media domain (more details at HSC counts Tier 1 OEMs, ISVs, and Hi-Tech & emerging technology companies as its customers worldwide. HSC has offices in India, USA, UK and South Korea.

HSC has already been appraised for CMMI® – DEV at maturity level 5. It is also certified for ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 27001:2005 (ISMS).

We have 400 employees, majority of them working out of our Gurgaon office.

Q: Please tell us why and how you decided on adopting the People CMM® model.

VS: We at HSC believe that balanced improvements equally focused on “People”, “Process” and “Technology” are a sure-shot recipe for long-term sustained success. With that intent we have invested heavily in these 3 areas since our inception.

Through our BMS (Business Management System) and the certification against ISO 9001, and ISO 27001 and rating of maturity level 5 against the CMMI® -DEV we have largely addressed the “Process” part.

On the “Technology” front, we have evaluated and deployed many tools that help us with various aspects of software development and project management (e.g., configuration management, code quality, open source compliance, continuous integration, program management, project metrics analysis, internal audits, and customer satisfaction surveys).

On the “People” front, our processes are very progressive and people friendly. We realized that they can be taken many notches higher and we need to enhance their effectiveness and ensure higher consistency in their application across the organization.  After a series of discussions with internal stakeholders and external experts, we eventually decided to adopt People CMM®.

Q: Where are you at present in your People CMM® Journey? And what all have you done to get People CMM® started at Hughes Systique?

VS: Well, we are making steady progress at this point.  In Q3’2012, after the initial due diligence we put the roadmap and plan in place. Our HR and Quality team performed an initial gap analysis, and came up with an action plan. After that, we had a formal kick-off with all relevant stakeholders and formed task forces to handle various focused improvements. Then an external partner was engaged to help us through the journey. A detailed gap analysis was carried out by the external partner in Q4’2012 (Shyama Chakraborty of QAI). Currently, we are working on incorporating the suggested improvements and closing the gaps.

Q: What are the goals you hope to achieve by implementing People CMM®?

VS: We are in a people-centric and knowledge-intensive industry. The business parameters we will focus on are utilization (which depends on attrition rate and time to ramp up new hires) and gross margin (which depends on competency and cost of resources). It should also help us improve hiring, training, employee engagement, etc. The People CMM® model will calibrate our existing people practices against best-in-class practices prevalent in the industry.

Q: Please tell us something about the timeframes planned (in relation to the People CMM® journey)

VS: Our goal is to eventually deploy maturity level 5 practices and get a formal rating by end of 2015, with an interim milestone of a formal maturity level 3 in the early part of 2014.

Q: Who will be driving the PCMM journey in Hughes Systique?

VS: The coordination of the overall roadmap, interim implementation reviews and appraisals would be driven by our Quality group.  Quality will also facilitate HR in process definition and deployment. A Steering Group comprising our senior executives provides oversight on the progress.

Changes to existing processes and their deployment internally will be driven by HR via various task forces. The task forces would work on specific areas while collaborating with each other.

Q: How would you compare People CMM® with any other HR model/methodology that you have experienced in the past?

VS: According to our HR Head Rohit Sahu: “We are still learning, but based on what we have been able to understand, People CMM® provides a balanced and staged approach to improving people practices. I think this model has its bearing in many sound concepts underpinning Human Capital Management (HCM), Organizational Development (OD), Industrial Psychology and HR Analytics.”

Q: Would a People CMM® appraisal status matter for the industry that you are operating in?

VS: At present none of our customers ask for it. But this could definitely be a differentiator that we could project to our customers. Due to high attrition in the IT industry, strong people practices assure our customers business continuity and fulfillment of delivery commitments.

It should also help us in our endeavor to make HSC the 1st choice for aspiring Telecom Software Professionals.

Q: Is there anything youVinod Sood Photo 2 would like to tell/ convey to the readers?

VS: We are looking forward to People CMM® as an enabler to further mature our internal people practices and provide some of the business benefits I spoke about earlier. As they say well begun is half done. We have started on a strong footing and I am confident we will learn and mature ourselves, both as individuals and as an organization.

Thank you Vinod, for your time and sharing your thoughts. We hope you can provide us updates to your progress in some months.

Vinod Sood (VS)  is the Managing Director at Hughes Systique. His LinkedIn page is here.

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Please feel feel to share your views, experiences or queries, using the “comments” feature available.

Nothing Official About It! – The views presented above are in no manner reflective of the official views of any organization, community, group, institute, or association. They may not even be the official views of the interviewer or the interviewee :-).

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.

8 thoughts on “Interview: Vinod Sood of Hughes Systique on the People CMM® as a workforce improvement framework”

  1. Hello Vinod,

    I liked the way in which you have put across your perspective on how the PCMM framework fits into the overall scheme of things at Hughes. Clear, Simple and Direct.

    “Well begun is indeed half done”, as you have put it. This is a Change Management journey and I hope that you will share your experiences on the outcomes, challenges faced etc maybe a year down the line.

    Leadership perspectives are always very enriching.


  2. Prakash,

    Thanks for your inputs. Will share our experiences and learning as we go over this journey.



  3. To the readers,

    Being a consultant to HSC, I am privy to the passion of the management team, HR and Quality to build better people, competent people and systemic enablers to drive organizational efficiencies. Eager to meet the milestones together.


  4. Vinod,

    Nice to hear the leadership’s perspective on this initiative in your organization. The aspect that you and your colleagues from the senior leadership are involved in providing oversight on this program should indeed bode well for your organization and the outcomes of this program.

    Best wishes


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