SITARA has been asked several pertinent questions and some of them find a
place here. Questions posed to SITARA & SITARA's responses to them will be posted from time to
time. If you want to submit a question, please use the Ask
QUESTION: I am a HR professional. I am interested to learn the PCMM
modules & become independent consultant. Kindly advice on the entire
process if any.
ANSWER: RN> The best way to start out as a
consultant is to go through a model training course. Much of the People
CMM is relevant only when applied along with a strong domain
understanding since People CMM is more of model to improve
organizational competencies. One could be a software engineering expert
and apply the People CMM practices to the context of software
QUESTION: Dose a PCMM certification means an reward for
existing HR pracices or for the organization initiatives for the better
people policies? OR Else IS he PCMM certification is an end in itself?
ANSWER: RN> Depending upon the relevant process
areas that an organization plans to adopt into its workforce practices,
the response to the above question would vary. For sure PCMM is not a
certification process or a mechanism to reward the HR for its practices.
Adoption of People CMM practices would only indicate the maturity of the
organizational practices to grow core competencies. People CMM is all
about improving individuals-, the units-, the organizations- core
competencies in a structured manner.
People CMM is not an end in itself but is a new beginning even after
reaching a level 5 to continuously tread the path of revival and
renewal. This is a direct measure therefore, of the organization's
ability to learn and grow, while adapting to the changes that are always
The following data was submitted via your form:
Are all PCMM level 5 cetified companies meeting the
attributes of the Learning Organisation?
ANSWER: RN> They should! Otherwise there would a
strong misinterpretation of competency orientation and competency based
practices in such organizations.
THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS WERE ANSWERED FOR THE PEOPLE CMM e-GROUP ON
Q1, Q5. It is a well known fact that the
HR Department can realize its value only when it is integrated into the
business process. How can we integrate the concepts of PCMM with the
Software CMM to increase the value of business? What has been the
experiences? Could those participants who have undergone a pre-assessment
or assessment process for PCMM levels 2 or above, share with us
significant experiences and highlights for our guidance. We are
ascertaining the key process strengths and improvement areas of our IT
Ventures so as to be able to launch a major PCMM initiative among them.
Your inputs at this juncture will be very valuable to our progress.
ANSWER: RN> Treating the People CMM as a HR
framework is a fundamentally incorrect approach. People CMM has to be
applied along with existing process improvement programs such as the
Software CMM or the CMMI, more as an 'organizational development
framework'. Practices prescribed within the People CMM, actually help to
build organizational competencies. Needless to say that when process
improvement programs are executed without evaluating their impact on
business performance and business objectives ALL improvement initiatives
will appear disconnected. When actually, such improvement initiatives have
to be executed as an organizational core competency. It is only when the
practices of the People CMM are enabled into the manifest process designs,
can such a 'core competency' view of process improvements become
established and highlighted.
Think of the People CMM as a basis to establish a framework for
developing organizational competencies and the Software CMM as a framework
that helps to build a software development strategy.
To start with: take the Intergroup Coordination KPA of the Software
CMM and work the 'humanistic aspects' of the People CMM into the process
design. Then extend the People CMM framework to accommodate the much
required empowering aspects of process tailoring within ISM and integrate
the interpersonal skill development aspects of the Training PA of the
People CMM into the Training Program KPA of the Software CMM. These are
the first steps to take ... and quite obviously there are many more!
With respect to assessing your process strengths and improvement
opportunities: Asking yourself the following question may lead you to the
answers- . Do you
know enough about your core competencies that you can sustain it for now
and in the future and are in a position to make money by selling on your
competencies? And, how have you ensured that it can be done in both good
times and in bad times?
Q2, Q4. People CMM is an organizational change model. For an
organization attempting to implement this model, what is the best way to
start a P-CMM improvement program in a systematic manner? What factors
should we think about in workforce and other resources? What are the
prerequisites? How does one start the journey to PCMM?
ANSWER: RN> More than an organizational 'change'
model, I look at People CMM as an 'organizational developmental
framework'. The most obvious way to start the People CMM improvement
program is to get 'excellent training' on what the model has to offer.
Unfortunately there are no short cuts and the only field where training is
always compromised is in the Information Technology. There is a paucity of
good trainers and also a lack of depth.
Training on the People CMM, viewed more as a core competency in
process change management using the Software CMM or CMMI is the most
beneficial way to kick-off the People CMM movement in the organization.
You must train at least 60% of the organizational workforce on the
importance of developing a 'core competency' view at all times - then
change itself becomes a rewarding process. MOST IMPORTANT: Don't ask
-'what is the return on investment' until you have attained a Level 4
maturity! Of late, I have come to realize that this question is both
distasteful and a very insipid one to ask - at least not until you reached
a Level 4 status on the process maturity! Because neither the person
asking this question nor the person giving a response knows enough about
how to quantify the costs of development. It is very difficult to justify
the RoI in software development where the cost of development is not
something that can be subjected easily to break-even analysis. Unless it
is a software product, you mostly develop system software once, and more
for one time use only.
Think of asking the question on RoI and potential ways of exploiting
reuse only when the process is mature beyond a Level 4. Why I say this can
be best appreciated if I ask a question - "Is training a cost or
investment?" Most of the costing models are cost based and therefore look
at it as a cost. I look at it as a 'requirement' and an 'opportunity'
without which the pre-requisites necessary for the change management
program itself would not be met.
The journey obviously begins with the first step- training! Then
understand how to interpret the framework giving your business constraints
and circumstances. Obviously every organization has a list of unique
characteristics that have to be solved within the local context -
practices of the People CMM may not come in handy. The unwritten rules and
value systems that decide the games people play, have to be
addressed using an entirely different yardstick.
Q3, Q6. Which areas in the P-CMM Model is a challenging area, where
opportunities exists for doing research? The aim of the research is to be
able to contribute for the society. I am looking for
models/framework for measurement of competency and skills. I am asking
this question in the context of the P-CMM KPAs: Competency Analysis and
Competency Development. Are there any experiences or published work in
ANSWER: RN> Almost every theme in the People CMM
has an immense research potential and an opportunity worth investigating.
Within SITARA, we have conceived several proprietary models such as-
- SITARA 10W5D competency
- SITARA Domain-Competency
- Universal Excellence
- Workforce competency
development framework based on SITARA ODER paradigm for growing core
in our interpreting the People CMM (please wait a little longer ...
my book on Interpreting the People CMM, published by Tata McGraw-Hill is
on its way!).
In a way, if every aspect of the society is conscious of growing
competencies and understanding the power of leverage, I would be certain
that the society as a whole will benefit. Addressing this much neglected
opportunity is SITARA's commitment toward Global Best Practices. Please
Q7. The version 1 of P-CMM had separate Key process Areas for
Mentoring and Coaching at different levels. The version 2 talks of
Mentoring only. Are the concepts of coaching in built into this KPA?
ANSWER: RN> Mentoring and coaching are designed
to help in factors that build a high trust environment that promotes
belief in oneself and oneís abilities. Mentoring and coaching are
recognized as alternate management styles that rely on skills that create
skills in others. Competencies that are necessary for an individualís
personal development program toward building a high-trust environment are
identified. They could include: Reliability, Openness, Acceptance,
Congruence, Consistency, Competence, Character, Courage and so on. By
making mentoring orient itself and take on specific focus of -competency
development- whereby it is recognized as a skill that helps to build
technical skills in others, in a sense, one can conclude that aspects of
coaching are strengthened within the Mentoring aspects of the People CMM
QUESTION: To my
understanding , the Workgroup development refers to forming a group of
people to achieve certain activities which are interdependent. So all
project groups come under this purview. There may be groups formed within
a Strategic Business Unit apart from Project groups as well to do certain
Now when we come to empowered workgroups, my understanding is that it is a
similar workgroup except for the fact that there is a certain amount of
responsibility and authority provided to the members to do the work and
achieve its objectives. So the activities that an empowered workgroup does
is mainly to do with either a recommendation on certain aspects or a
Is my understanding correct?
ANSWER: RN> The primary objective behind both WGD
and EWG process areas is to build workgroups and culture, irrespective of
how you want to organize the workforce (SBUs or project groups). However
what WGD and EWG address are two entirely different organizational
As to how the practices that support WGD and EWG should be grown within
the organization is concerned; my belief is that WGD layers on top of
Training and development practices whereas EWG grows on top of Staffing
practices. My reasoning is as follows: practices behind WGD organize
themselves and rally behind the development of organizational
competencies. WGD 'may' complement EWG by supporting and envisioning an
empowered work culture by leveraging value resulting from exploiting
interdependence among competencies. And for this to happen, the
organization must be a level 4 or above in maturity. In short: WGD
practices help to 'grow organizational competencies'.
Whereas, the practices in EWG are required to offer organizational support
which permits workgroups to determine what is needed by them to conduct
their business activities in a manner that is best decided by them (people
belonging to the workgroup). To this degree, EWG helps to 'tailor' all
other PCMM practices like staffing, traning, compensation, competency
development, etc., to make them applicable to the context that surrounds
the project or the workgroup. Short answer: EWG makes all other PCMM
practices 'relevant' to the project's context through effective use of
QUESTION: Is PCMM to
be looked at as a certification or does it provide guidance on how to
enhance people practices?
ANSWER: RN> PCMM is most definitely NOT a
certification process at all. People CMM is a framework which when
effectively deployed determines the extent to which an organization is
versatile in managing its core competencies. While building core
competencies requires conscious effort and determination from an
organization, the People CMM framework highlights practices that help to
retain, grow and nurture competent individuals.
QUESTION: Does a company have to be
assessed for each level before being assessed for the next one or can it
take two steps at a time!
ANSWER: RN> There is no rule that an
organization has to progress one step at a
time. Our belief within SITARA Technologies is that "evolutionary
happens only with revolutionary ideas". And, the only lasting
representation of change in our opinion based on a number of years of in
the trenches experience with change management is - slow and steady loses
the race! Dynamism is best at work when aggressive targets are set and
behavior change is "mandated". I read an interesting anecdote
that tells it best - An industry which was planning to adopt a pension
scheme put a proposal up in the organization for a consensus decision.
Only when they had 100% consensus, they would move forward. Just one
Johnny was totally opposed to it and so, the whole process came to a
grinding halt much to chagrin of other individuals. The CEO called up
Johnny and told him - "Here is the paper and here is the pen, sign it
or you are fired!". Johnny immediately complied by signing his
consent. When the CEO asked Johnny why he had not voluntarily done it.
Johnny replied - "No body explained to me the consequences of NOT
signing so clearly". So you see, consensus based "change
management" will never work in practice. It is theoretically a nice
thing to do. Champion of the People CMM program should decide how he is
going to lead the team and where they want to be ... and the rest shall
march ahead to reach that goal.
QUESTION: What is the next logical
step after achieving PCMM-5? Is PCMM self-actualization in terms of people
ANSWER: RN> Most definitely not, is SITARA's
opinion. Today's Indian IT needs much more than just these practices.
There is a great void of management thought and leadership right at the
top. Even today, most sponsors think that People CMM is "yet another
HR framework that costs money". Little do they realize that it is a
"core competency development model". To that degree the word
People in the People CMM is a misnomer. It would have sold better had it
been called Core Competency Model instead of People CMM.
Indian IT lacks both the depth and breadth of management and leadership
excellence. As a consequence the thing that is most relevant and important
today, but is found lacking is loyalty and a sense of personal worth or
self-esteem. And both loyalty and self-esteem are not something that
People CMM addresses at all!
SITARA's Universal Excellence Framework (UEF) is a holistic framework that
brings all of the missing links with Software CMM and People CMM together
while taking a "systemic view" to improvement rather than a
"process view" to improvement and change management. The UEF is
then facilitated by SITARA's Global Best Practices which essentially is,
if we are having problems managing software requirements and changes to
them, then the place to look for a solution or a benchmark is an industry
or a business entity such as the Domino's pizza which might have perfected
the art of requirement's capture and requirements realization in the final
product or delivery. Looking hard at the same problem long enough with
same eye will not solve the problem!
QUESTION: Can one
quantify the contribution of "adopting best people practices" to
the bottom line.
ANSWER: RN> Of course, when done correctly
there are both tangible and intangible benefits. The intrinsic worth -
which is the true worth of a company goes up. The books of accounts may
not capture this information, and this may not reflect in a Company's
stock prices. It shows up as the several much wanted intangibles - pride
in individuals, pride in their work, a high sense of self-esteem, courage
and discipline, a value based and purposeful existence, and so on. What is
significantly lacking is NOT best practices in organizations. It is an
attitude to best practices that is lacking. SITARA's Universal Excellence
Framework is all about "cultivating and nurturing this attitude"
to best practices.
QUESTION: How long does it take for
an organization to evolve from Level 1 to 5?
ANSWER: RN> Anywhere between 1 year to 100
years! It all depends upon "from where is the motivation for change
coming from?" Is it intrinsic or extrinsic? If it is intrinsic, how
many of the people in the organization share the vision and value system?
QUESTION: Is Personal competency
development relate to work or other spheres of an individuals life which
are likely to affect work?
ANSWER: RN> SITARA firmly belief's in what is
attributed to Mahatma Gandhi - 'One cannot excel in one department of
life, while the others are found wanting'. We believe that personal
competency development operates fundamentally on multiple dimensions. It
is NOT just how good a professional you are, it is also about how good a
family person you are, how good a citizen you are, how good a human being
you are and so on. Mind you, all of these are competencies. By goodness I
mean, dependable. As Shiv Khera puts is so well- Ability without
dependability is a liability. That to me sums up People CMM better than
any thing else! Any organization can be a People CMM level 5 for just 5
minutes! Having just an ability to grow core competencies does NOT mean a
thing until organizations have nurtured the abilities within individuals
to be self directed and empowered to make the day-to-day changes that are
so very necessary to keep the People CMM Level 5 at level 5 for more than
just 5 minutes!
QUESTION: Is there a similar
process for non-IT companies
ANSWER: RN> The People CMM or the CMM is
nothing but distilled common sense. And, the 6th sense that is bestowed
disproportionately by Mother Nature is common sense! You can also think of
these frameworks as a generic management paradigm that can be applied to
both IT and non-IT companies to accomplish the same sense of business