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People Capability Maturity Model

September 1995 Maturity Module
Bill Curtis (CAST Research Labs), William E. Hefley, Sally A. Miller

This document has been updated to a new version. If you want to see the newer document, refer to People Capability Maturity Model (P-CMM) Version 2.0 (CMU/SEI-2001-MM-001).


Software Engineering Institute

CMU/SEI Report Number



This document has been updated to a new version. If you want to see the newer document, refer to People Capability Maturity Model (P-CMM) Version 2.0 (CMU/SEI-2001-MM-001).  

The People Capability Maturity Model (P-CMM) adapts the maturity framework of the Capability Maturity Model for Software (CMM) to managing and developing an organization's workforce. The motivation for the P-CMM is to radically improve the ability of software organizations to attract, develop, motivate, organize, and retain the talent needed to continuously improve software development capability. The P-CMM is designed to allow software organizations to integrate workforce improvement with software process improvement programs guided by the CMM. The P-CMM can also be used by any kind of organization as a guide for improving its people-related and workforce practices. Based on the best current practices in fields such as human resources and organizational development, the P-CMM provides organizations with guidance on how to gain control of their processes for managing and developing their workforce. The P-CMM helps organizations to characterize the maturity of their workforce practices, guide a program of continuous workforce development, set priorities for immediate actions, integrate workforce development with process improvement, and establish a culture of software engineering excellence. It describes an evolutionary improvement path from ad hoc, inconsistently performed practices, to a mature, disciplined development of the knowledge, skills, and motivation of the workforce, just as the CMM describes an evolutionary improvement path for the software processes within an organization. The P-CMM consists of five maturity levels that lay successive foundations 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 within the organization. The key process areas at Level 2 focus on instilling basic discipline into workforce activities. They are Work Environment, Communication, Staffing, Performance Management, Training, and Compensation. The key process areas at Level 3 address issues surrounding the identification of the organization's primary competencies and aligning its people management activities with them. They are Knowledge and Skills Analysis, Workforce Planning, Competency Development, Career Development, Competency-Based Practices, and Participatory Culture. The key process areas at Level 4 focus on quantitatively managing organizational growth in people management capabilities and in establishing competency-based teams. They are Mentoring, Team Building, Team-Based Practices, Organizational Competency Management, and Organizational Performance Alignment. The key process areas at Level 5 cover the issues that address continuous improvement of methods for developing competency, at both the organizational and the individual level. They are Personal Competency Development, Coaching, and Continuous Workforce Innovation. This document describes the P-CMM, the key practices that correspond to each maturity level of the P-CMM, and information on how to apply the P-CMM in guiding organizational improvement. It contains an elaboration of what is meant by workforce capability (i.e., maturity) at each maturity level, and describes how the P-CMM can be applied by an organization in two primary ways: as a standard for assessing workforce practices, and as a guide in planning and implementing improvement activities.