Sunday, August 10, 2014

Carnegie Mellon's People Capability Maturity Model

In looking for processes to enable company leaders to transform their organizations into highly innovative enterprises, I came across the Carnegie Mellon People Capability Maturity Model.

The model is predicated on the idea that you climb up the capability curve by adding management and workforce capabilities with each of five levels. "When the goals of all process areas at a maturity level and lower levels have been satisfied, the organization will have achieved the maturity level."1   It is a stair step approach of adding on to the tools implemented on a lower step.

The model assumes the usefulness of many common business practices such as performance reviews  that  ensure “activities comply with the organization’s policies and stated values.”2   We know that for companies that have successfully gone through the transformation, performance reviews are not used, policy documents are practically non-existent, and values are not stated.  For these companies such things either work against you (performance reviews) or are useless window dressing (stated values).
The trouble with the Carnegie Mellon People Capability Maturity Model is that it is based on the idea that the more you manage the better you do.  However, in looking at real world cases where companies have achieved the transformation, exactly the opposite is true.  It's about letting go of control, not increasing it.

Also note that in the 600 page People Capability Maturity Model document, there are lots of statements that leave you wondering how something might work or who is ultimately responsible for something since often it is a shared responsibility, e.g. “the human resources function shares with management and individuals the responsibility for process and individual improvement.”3   So who’s accountable for what?

The Carnegie Mellon People Capability Maturity Model is increasingly complex as you move up, rather than increasingly simple as we’ve seen in the real world.  Successful companies find that there is a strong inverse correlation between how innovative, productive, and high quality it performs, as related to the level of management activity. Less is more!

1 Curtis, B., Hefley, B., Miller, J., (2009). People Capability Maturity Model (P-CMM) Version 2.0, Second Edition. Pittsburgh, PA, Carnegie Mellon University.p.48
2 Ibid p,289

3 Ibid p.70
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