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people management

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How to satisfy the aspirations and development needs of the people working in the organization.

How to establish conguence between the demands placed on people, and the capabilities and resources available to them. 

(Seems obvious, doesn't it? But many managers, particularly in the software industry, need help with the details.)

On this page, we discuss two public domain frameworks for people management.

The Software Engineering Institute, best known for its Capability Maturity Model for Software, has also produced a Capability Maturity Model for People Management. 

Veryard Projects has developed a simple explanation of the structure of the People Management CMM, which shows how feedback loops are used to increase integration at each level.

People management is also an important component of the evaluation model for the European Quality Award, administered by the European Foundation for Quality Management.


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SEI Capability Maturity Model for People (P-CMM)
Understanding the structure

veryard projects > people management > p-cmm

What is the SEI Capability Maturity Model for People (P-CMM)?

The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie-Mellon University has developed a Capability Maturity Model for People Management (P-CMM).

Like the better-known Software CMM, the People CMM has five levels. Level 1 represents a general lack of capability. For each level above 1, there is a set of process areas that have to be mastered.

Level 2: Repeatable
  • Work Environment 
  • Communication 
  • Staffing 
  • Performance Management 
  • Training 
  • Compensation
  • Level 3: Defined
  • Knowledge and Skills Analysis 
  • Workforce Planning 
  • Competency Development 
  • Career Development 
  • Competency-Based Practices 
  • Participatory Culture
  • Level 4: Managed
  • Mentoring 
  • Team Building 
  • Team-Based Practices 
  • Organizational Competency Management 
  • Organizational Performance Alignment 
  • Level 5: Optimizing
  • Personal Competency Development 
  • Coaching 
  • Continuous Workforce Innovation
  • Each process area maintains a match between two important elements of people management. As we shall see, these elements connect to form a network, which only becomes complete when we reach Level 5.

    Level 2: Repeatable

    There are six process areas in Level 2. I have drawn them as white double rectangles. 

    Each of these process areas focuses on achieving a good match between two characteristics of People Management. I have drawn these characteristics as blue ovals. 

    Level 2 is all about Performance. The six components of Level 2 can be drawn as a hierarchy, with Performance at the top.

    Process Area Match Between Positive Indicators Negative Indicators
    Work Environment  Work Environment 


    Appropriate work environment exists

    Improvements are made to enhance performance

    Excessive, unnecessary, inappropriate distractions 

    Non-compliance with applicable laws and regulations

    Communication Interpersonal skills 


    Social environment supports effective interaction 

    Effective mechanisms for top-down and bottom-up communication.

    Workforce skills 

    • sharing information 
    • efficient coordination of activities 
    • efficient meetings 
    • resolve problems 
    Meetings bloody meetings 

    Email bloody email 

    Unresolved problems, conflicts or grievances

    Staffing Assignment 

    Qualified Staff

    Effective recruitment 

    Effective selection 

    Effective transitioning (= staff deployment) 

    Lack of coordination in staffing activities

    Unclear criteria for recruitment, selection and transitioning 

    Performance Management Performance 


    Objective performance criteria 

    Continuous performance monitoring and enhancement of unit and team. 

    Vague or subjective performance criteria
    Training Skill 


    Compensation Compensation 



    Level 3: Defined

    At Level 3, there are three process areas that make a loop. These are shown at the top of the diagram. 

    Three further process areas connect into this loop.

    Process Area Match Between Positive Indicators Negative Indicators
    Knowledge and Skills Analysis Identified core competencies, knowledge & skills

    Current and future business needs

    Core competencies are known

    Required knowledge and skills are known.

    Workforce Planning Workforce activities

    Current and future business needs

    Competency Development Core Competencies

    Training and development

    Career Development Core Competencies

    Personal Career

    Individual motivation and opportunities to develop new skills and enhance career prospects. Mismatch between organizationís core competencies and personal career plans, opportunities and histories.
    Competency-Based Practices Core competencies

    Workforce practices

    Workforce practices for recruitment and staffing, workforce assignment, and performance criteria and compensation are aligned with core competencies. Workforce practices for recruitment and staffing, workforce assignment, and performance criteria and compensation are not aligned with core competencies.
    Participatory Culture Workforce Activities & Practices

    Individual and Team Autonomy

    Flow of information within the organization.

    Individual knowledge incorporated into decision-making processes.

    Individual support for commitments.

    Lack of organization back-up for empowerment.

    Required information not made available.

    Frequent override by higher management.


    Level 4: Managed

    At Level 4, we introduce a crucial distinction between performance results and performance goals.
    Process Area Match Between Positive Indicators Negative Indicators
    Mentoring Performance Results

    Workforce Experience

    Support for mentors

    Preparation and guidance

    Meetings for mentors to share experiences and problems

    Coerced participation in mentoring programme 

    Mentors overstepping defined boundaries 

    Team Building Team Structure & Process

    Performance Goals

    Integration of diverse knowledge and skills within teams

    Clear terms of reference

    • Objectives 
    • Responsibilities
    • Authority 
    • Team process 
    • Relationships to other teams 
    Conflict within team 

    Group-think within team 

    Team-Based Practices Team Structure & Process

    Work Environment

    Development, motivation and functioning of teams consistent with work environment and organizational workforce practice.

    Individual compensation aligned with team criteria.

    Work environment interferes with team functions.

    Individual compensation misaligned with team criteria.

    Organizational Competency Management Organizationís capability (core competency)

    Performance goals

    Organizational Performance Alignment Performance results

    Performance goals


    Level 5: Optimizing

    Level 5 concentrates on workforce practices.
    Process Area Match Between Positive Indicators Negative Indicators
    Personal Competency Development Workforce Practices 

    Individual Work Processes

    Personal self-development 


    Measuring performance 

    Setting improvement targets 

    Defining and improving individual work processes

    Individual work process improvement not supporting or supported by organizationís workforce practices.
    Coaching Workforce Practice 

    Workforce Experience

    Defined criteria for assignment of coaches to teams and individuals 

    Rewards for coaches and coachees.

    Responsibilities (and authority) of coach are unclear 

    Lack of demonstrable benefits from coaching

    Continuous Workforce Innovation Performance Results 

    Workforce Practices

    Systematic evaluation of innovative practices and technologies 

    Empowerment to improve activities 

    • Individual
    • Team 
    Isolated pockets of innovation - lack of dissemination 

    Inertia in workforce practices 


    Here are the level 2 process areas again.
    Now we add the level 3 process areas.

    There is no connection between them.

    p-cmm summary levels 1-3
    Level 4 connects Level 2 with Level 3.

    Note the emergence of a loop

    • Performance Results
    • Performance Goals
    • Team Structure & Process
    • Work Environment
    Finally, level 5 completes the central loop
    • Performance Goals 
    • Performance Results
    • Workforce Practices
    • Core Competencies.
    p-cmm summary levels 1-5

    veryard projects - innovation for demanding change

    How does the European Quality Award address people management?

    veryard projects > people management > efqm

    efqm - european quality award

    source: European Foundation for Quality Management

    veryard projects - innovation for demanding change

    People Management - Further Materials

    veryard projects > people management > related materials

    more Quality management / process improvement

    Project / programme management

    Organizational intelligence

    People issues in process improvement: encouraging, enabling, empowering

    more SEI Capability Maturity Model for People (P-CMM)

    European Quality Award


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    This page last updated on September 4th, 2001
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