Implementing Succession Planning Through Pcmm Commerce Essay

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There is raging debate that CMM Capability Maturity Model is heavily influenced by process or technology, not people. Furthermore, those organizations, which claim maturity in their process, indicate that they require significant changes in managing people, and their continuing improvement in their organizational capability required them to address issues regarding their people assets and human resources management. The P-CMM is an adaptation of CMM concepts focused on developing the organization's human capabilities, especially the talent in software and information systems development. The People Capability Maturity Model (People CMM) can help organizations successfully address their critical human capital issues. The People CMM employs a process maturity framework as a foundation for best practices for managing and developing an organization's workforce. Based on the best current practices in fields such as human resources, knowledge management, and organizational development, the People CMM guides organizations in improving their succession planning processes for managing and developing their workforce. The People CMM helps organizations characterize the maturity of their human capital practices, establish a program of continuous workforce development, set priorities for improvement actions, integrate workforce development with process.

Keywords: People Capability Maturity Model (People CMM), Human Resource Management (HRM).


The People Capability Maturity Model (People CMM) is an established set of human capital management practices that provides an organizational change model through an evolutionary framework based on a system of workforce practices. It is designed on the principle that improved workforce practices will not survive unless an organization's behavior changes to support them. The People CMM provides a roadmap for transforming an organization by steadily improving its workforce practices. The People CMM consists of five maturity levels, or evolutionary stages, through which an organization's workforce practices and processes evolve. At each maturity level, a new system of practices is added to those implemented at earlier levels. Each overlay of practices raises the level of sophistication through which the organization develops its workforce. Within this environment individuals experience greater opportunity to develop and are more motivated to align their performance with the objectives of the organization.

From the perspective of the People CMM, an organization's maturity is derived from the workforce practices routinely performed inside it, and the extent to which these practices have been integrated into an institutionalized process for improving workforce capability. In a mature organization, responsible individuals perform repeatable workforce practices as ordinary and expected requirements of their positions. The more mature an organization, the greater its capability for attracting, developing, and retaining the talent it needs to execute its business.

The People CMM is a process-based model; it assumes that workforce practices are standard organizational processes that can be improved continuously through the same methods that have been used to improve other business processes. The People CMM is constructed from workforce practices and process improvement techniques that have proven effective in many organizations. A unique characteristic of the People CMM is its staged framework for introducing and steadily improving successful workforce practices, effectively transforming the capability of the organization through increased organizational maturity.

Any Capability Maturity Model derived from Humphrey's process maturity framework integrates principles from three domains: the targeted domain of processes, total quality management practices, and organizational change. First, a CMM is designed to help an organization adopt best practices in a targeted domain. The People CMM targets workforce management processes, while other models, such as CMMI [Chris 06], focus on system and software engineering processes. Second, processes in the targeted domain are continuously improved to become more effective and predictable using Total Quality Management concepts pioneered by Deming, Juran, Crosby, and others. Third, the CMM constitutes a unique approach to organizational development that introduces these practices in stages (maturity levels) to create a succession of changes in the organization's culture.

Changing an organization's culture through staged improvements to its operating processes is a unique approach to organizational development. These cultural changes provide much of the CMM's power for implementing lasting improvements and distinguish it from other quality and process improvement standards. Although many process standards can transform an organization's culture, few include a roadmap for implementation. Consequently, organizations often fail to implement the standard effectively because they attempt to implement too much too soon and do not lay the right foundation of practices.

The culture of an organization is reflected in the shared values and resulting patterns of behavior that characterize interactions among its members. Successful improvement programs guided by the People CMM change the fundamental attributes of its culture-its practices and behaviors. As an organization adopts the practices that satisfy the goals of the People CMM's process areas, it establishes the shared patterns of behavior that underlie a culture of professionalism dedicated to continuous improvement. Not surprisingly, most organizations report dramatic cultural changes as they progress through the People CMM's maturity levels.


The People Capability Maturity Model® (People CMM®) is a proven set of human capital management practices that provide a roadmap for continuously improving the capability of an organization's workforce. The People CMM refers to these practices as workforce practices. Since an organization cannot implement all of the best workforce practices in an afternoon, the People CMM introduces them in stages. Each progressive level of the People CMM produces a unique transformation in the organization's culture by equipping it with more powerful practices for attracting, developing, organizing, motivating, and retaining its workforce. Thus, the People CMM establishes an integrated system of workforce practices that matures through increasing alignment with the organization's business objectives, performance, and changing needs.

The People CMM's primary objective is to improve the capability of the workforce. Workforce capability can be defined as the level of knowledge, skills, and process abilities available for performing an organization's business activities. Workforce capability indicates an organization's

readiness for performing its critical business activities,

likely results from performing these business activities, and

potential for benefiting from investments in process improvement or advanced technology.

In order to measure and improve capability, the workforce in most organizations must be divided into its constituent workforce competencies. Each workforce competency represents a unique integration of knowledge, skills, and process abilities acquired through specialized education or work experience. Strategically, an organization wants to design its workforce to include the various workforce competencies required to perform the business activities underlying its core competencies [Prahalad 90]. Each of these workforce competencies can be characterized by its capability- the profile of knowledge, skills, and process abilities available to the organization in that competency.

The People CMM is an evolutionary framework that guides organizations in selecting high priority improvement actions based on the current maturity of their workforce practices. The benefit of the People CMM is in narrowing the scope of improvement activities to those vital few practices that provide the next foundational layer for developing an organization's workforce. By concentrating on a focused set of practices and working aggressively to install them, organizations can steadily improve their workforce and make lasting gains in their performance and competitiveness.

The People CMM has proven successful because it allows organizations to characterize the maturity of their workforce practices against a benchmark being used by other organizations. Many workforce benchmarks focus on employee attitudes and satisfaction rather than workforce practices. Although attitudes and satisfaction are important predictors of outcomes such as turnover, they do not always provide the guidance necessary for identifying which practices should be improved next. In contrast, the staged framework of the People CMM helps organizations prioritize their improvement actions. In addition, since the People CMM treats workforce development as an organizational process, improved workforce practices are easier to integrate with other process improvement activities.


In order to improve their performance, organizations must focus on three interrelated components-people, process, and technology. With the help of the Capability Maturity Model for Software many software organizations have made cost-effective, lasting improvements in their software processes and practices [Herbsleb94]. Yet many of these organizations have discovered that their continued improvement requires significant changes in the way they manage, develop, and use their people for developing and maintaining software and information systems-changes that are not fully accounted for in the CMM. To date, improvement programs for software organizations have often emphasized process or technology, not people.

The P-CMM is a maturity framework, patterned after the structure of the CMM that focuses on continuously improving the management and development of the human assets of a software or information systems organization. The P-CMM provides guidance on how to continuously improve the ability of software organizations to attract, develop, motivate, organize, and retain the talent needed to steadily improve their software development capability. The strategic objectives of the P-CMM is to improve the capability of software organizations by increasing the capability of their workforce

Ensure that software development capability is an attribute of the organization rather than of a few individuals

Align the motivation of individuals with that of the organization

Retain human assets (i.e., people with critical knowledge and skills) within the organization

The P-CMM describes an evolutionary improvement path from ad hoc, inconsistently performed practices, to a mature, disciplined, and continuously improving development of the knowledge, skills, and motivation of the workforce. The P-CMM helps software organizations

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

Establish a culture of software engineering excellence

The P-CMM is designed to guide software organizations in selecting immediate improvement actions based on the current maturity of their workforce practices. The benefit of the P-CMM is in narrowing the scope of improvement activities to those practices that provide the next foundational layer for an organization's continued workforce development. These practices have been chosen from industrial experience as those that have significant impact on individual, team, unit, and organizational performance. The P-CMM includes practices in such areas as:

Work environment



Managing performance



Competency development

Career development

Team building

Culture development

People Capability Maturity Model has emerged in middle of last decade and is called in short as P-CMM. Prior to this, there was no clear yardstick for measuring people development in an organization. Branding the organization human capital processes and instituting best practices in management is the key to corporate success in skill-intensive industries like software and information Technology.

The aforesaid model P-CMM was appreciated by leading and progressive organizations as one of the best guidelines for building organizational success through best practices of human talent processes. The CMM provides an organization with a clear cut vision to improve resource value through systematic application of global practices in high tech talent management. There are quality consultancy firms that are helping organizations to get P-CMM grade certification. Club Mahindra, L&T, Siemens are a few among the firms to obtain the grade very early.

P-CMM not only provides a blueprint for talent acquisition, motivation and development, but also list out important parameters through which organizations can evaluate the effectiveness of their own human resource policies and practices. This is done by categorizing into five levels of HRM that give a feedback to the organization about its performance in HRM. Level 5 is the highest and best possible grade.

SEI announced the launch of P-CMM in Bangalore in 2001.Organizations in India started responding in numbers. Initially, it was the software majors in India like Wipro, Infosys and others who stepped up for P-CMM assessment by external evaluators. Some of these software service companies even obtained the highest possible grade under this model that signifies an optimal level of learning and maturity in the organization. In the software industry, P-CMM has become a standard and a hygiene factor for getting into the big league. Non IT organizations implementing P-CMM were very few in numbers and this has led to a perception that P-CMM is the sole preserve of IT and software companies. P-CMM is very much relevant and needed in non-IT industries as well. It is true that there is a lot of ignorance in non-IT companies. There is nothing preventing P-CMM from being a broad-based framework that other industries can go for.

Now the trend is moving away from software, slowly and surely and the future is promising. The concerned agencies or consultancies who are authenticated for issuing P-CMM certification are working with industries

At the same time, P-CMM as an issue has not received a lot of attention among organizations. Due to fast-expanding nature of software businesses, the shelf life of an assessment has not been very high. But changes have been proposed in the method of assessment and there can be a lot of discussion and debate about P-CMM very soon in the near future.


Experts opine the primary driver for acquiring P-CMM certification is getting greater volumes of business. An assessment certification provides an objective view to organizations and helps them strengthen themselves. It also helps a company communicate to the external world that its HR processes are stable, and hence the output that they receive is more likely to be consistent. Clients of such companies who are worried about getting a consistent output are satisfied that their source of supply is having a certification of P-CMM and may even be willing to pay a premium for the work they outsource from them.

When certification becomes the entry condition, it helps companies obtain business. It also builds the company brand with customers. This is why software companies have been very meticulous about getting themselves assessed, since a large number of their clients are in the US. However, experts also believe that when going in for certification, the driving motive should be to take human capital human practices to increasing levels of sophistication where learning, and not the achievement of perfection, is the main objective. This certification will definitely create strong brands internally and externally. If organizations do it just for the sake of it without proper implementation they may not derive the benefits from it in the long run.

L&T InfoTech is one of the ten companies in the world to get the PCMM (People capability maturity model) level 5certification. Sudipta Dev writes on how the company provides continuous learning opportunities to its people for developing competencies for an organization which takes great pride in its rich HR culture, it is not surprising that many of L&T InfoTech's centers in India have achieved the coveted PCMM level 5 certification. Incidentally, L&T InfoTech is among the 10 companies in the world, which have earned this batch of recognition. The company got the award thanks to its people processes and practices and a dynamic HR team which actively spearheads all people-centric activities. The company currently has a workforce of more than 4,000 professionals. "L&T has always been focused on HR," states Dr Devendra Nath, executive vice president of L&T InfoTech. The organization believes that there are four major pillars of HR-acquiring talent, enabling talent, grooming talent and building 'the culture'. Nath asserts that competency-based HR is the essence of good HR. "It is the dream of all HR people that everything in the organization be linked through the competency matrix. Competency for every role is well-defined (technical as well as behavioral), even at the time of recruitment and succession planning," he says, adding that once people are shown a particular career path, they should be equipped with the skills to reach that particular position. And enhancing competencies enables this. Competency development is at PCMM level 3. The HR vision of the organization is to maximize 'Sigma motivation' and the organization believes that implementing the PCMM model in letter and spirit will help it achieve that.


The main objective of PCMM is to identify

Improve the capability of software organizations by increasing the capability of their staff,

Ensure that software development capability is an attribute of the organization rather than of a few individuals,

Align the motivation of the staff with those of the organization, and

Retain assets (i.e., people with extensive skills and capabilities) within the organization through succession planning.


The People CMM document describes the People CMM, the key practices that constitute each of its maturity levels, and information on how to apply it in guiding organizational improvements. It describes an organization's capability for developing its workforce at each maturity level. It describes how the People CMM can be applied as a standard for assessing workforce practices and as a guide in planning and implementing improvement activities.


All CMMs are constructed with five levels of maturity. A maturity level is an evolutionary plateau at which one or more domains of the organization's processes have been transformed to achieve a new level of organizational capability. Thus, an organization achieves a new level of maturity when a system of practices has been established or transformed to provide capabilities and results the organization did not have at the previous level. The method of transformation is different at each level, and requires capabilities established at earlier levels. Consequently, each maturity level provides a foundation of practices on which practices at subsequent maturity levels can be built. In order to be a true CMM, the maturity framework underlying a model must use the principles established in Humphrey's maturity framework for transforming the organization at each level.

The People CMM applies the principles of Humphrey's maturity framework to the domain of workforce practices. Each of the People CMM's five maturity levels represents a different level of organizational capability for managing and developing the workforce. Each maturity level provides a layer in the foundation for continuous improvement and equips the organization with increasingly powerful tools for developing the capability of its workforce.


The People CMM stages the implementation of increasingly sophisticated workforce practices through these maturity levels. With the exception of the Initial Level, each maturity level is characterized by a set of interrelated practices in critical areas of workforce management. When institutionalized and performed with appropriate regularity, these workforce practices create new capabilities within the organization for managing and developing its workforce.


Organizations at the Initial Level of maturity usually have difficulty retaining talented individuals. Even though many low-maturity organizations complain about a talent shortage, the inconsistency of their actions belies whether they actually believe it [Rothman 01]. Low-maturity organizations are poorly equipped to respond to talent shortages with anything other than slogans and exhortations. Despite the importance of talent, workforce practices in low-maturity organizations are often ad hoc and inconsistent. In some areas, the organization has not defined workforce practices, and, in other areas, it has not trained responsible individuals to perform the practices that exist. Organizations at the Initial Level typically exhibit four characteristics:

Inconsistency in performing practices

Displacement of responsibility

Ritualistic practices

An emotionally detached workforce

Generally managers and supervisors in low-maturity organizations are ill prepared to perform their workforce responsibilities. Their management training is sparse and, when provided, tends to cover only those workforce practices with the greatest legal sensitivity. The organization may typically provide forms for guiding workforce activities such as performance appraisals or position requisitions. However, too often little guidance or training is offered for conducting the activities supported by these forms. Consequently, managers are left to their own devices in most areas of workforce management.


The workforce practices implemented at the Managed Level focus on activities at the unit level. The first step toward improving the capability of the workforce is to get managers to take workforce activities as high-priority responsibilities of their job. They must accept personal responsibility for the performance and development of those who perform the unit's work. The practices implemented at Maturity Level 2 focus a manager's attention on unit-level issues such as staffing, coordinating commitments, providing resources, managing performance, developing skills, and making compensation decisions. Building a solid foundation of workforce practices in each unit provides the bedrock on which more sophisticated workforce practices can be implemented at higher levels of maturity.

An important reason to concentrate initially on practices at the unit level is founded on the frequent failure of organization-wide improvement programs. These programs often fail because they were thrust on an unprepared management team. That is, managers were struggling with problems that were not addressed by organizational changes. They often lacked the experience and skill needed to implement sophisticated practices. Consequently, Maturity Level 2 focuses on establishing basic practices in units that address immediate problems and prepare managers to implement more sophisticated practices at higher levels. It is difficult to implement organization-wide practices if managers are not performing the basic workforce practices required to manage their units.

Focusing at the unit level first also establishes a foundation in managing performance that can be enhanced with more sophisticated practices at higher levels. If people are unable to perform their assigned work, sophisticated workforce practices will be of little benefit to individuals or the organization. In a Maturity Level 2 organization, managers are vigilant for problems that hinder performance in their units. Frequent problems that keep people from performing effectively in low-maturity organizations include:

Work overload

Environmental distractions

Unclear performance objectives or feedback

Lack of relevant knowledge or skill

Poor communication

Low morale

The effort to ensure that workforce practices are performed in each unit begins when executive management commits the organization to continuously improve the knowledge, skills, motivation, and performance of its workforce. Executive management manifests these commitments in policies and provides the resources needed to support unit-level implementation of basic workforce practices. Executive management reinforces this commitment by performing basic workforce practices with their immediate reports and by subsequently holding all managers accountable for the performance of workforce practices in their respective units.


Organizations at the Managed Level find that, although they are performing basic workforce practices, there is inconsistency in how these practices are performed across units and little synergy across the organization. The organization misses opportunities to standardize workforce practices because the common knowledge and skills necessary to conduct its business activities have not been identified. At Maturity Level 2, units are identifying critical skills to determine qualifications for open positions, evaluate training needs, and provide performance feedback. However, there is no requirement at Maturity Level 2 for identifying common attributes among these skills across units or for determining the practices that are most effective in developing them.

Once a foundation of basic workforce practices has been established in the units, the next step is for the organization to develop an organization-wide infrastructure building on these practices that ties the capability of the workforce to strategic business objectives. The primary objective of the Defined Level is to help an organization gain a competitive advantage by developing the various competencies that must be combined in its workforce to accomplish its business activities. These workforce competencies represent the critical pillars that support the strategic business plan; their absence poses a severe risk to strategic business objectives. In tying workforce competencies to current and future business objectives, the improved workforce practices implemented at Maturity Level 3 become critical enablers of business strategy.


An organization at the Defined Level has established an organizational framework for developing its workforce. At the Predictable Level, the organization manages and exploits the capability created by its framework of workforce competencies. This framework is sustained through formal mentoring activities. The organization is now able to manage its capability and performance quantitatively. The organization is able to predict its capability for performing work because it can quantify the capability of its workforce and of the competency-based processes they use in performing their assignments.

There are at least three ways in which the framework of workforce competencies enables the organization to more fully use the capabilities of its workforce. First, when competent people perform their assignments using proven competency-based processes, management trusts the results they produce. This trust enables the organization to preserve the results of performing competency-based processes and develop them as organizational assets to be reused by others. In essence, people trust the asset because they trust the methods through which it was produced. When these assets are created and used effectively, learning spreads rapidly through the organization and productivity rises when reuse replaces redevelopment.


At the Optimizing Level, the entire organization is focused on continual improvement. These improvements are made to the capability of individuals and workgroups, to the performance of competency-based processes, and to workforce practices and activities. The organization uses the results of the quantitative management activities established at Maturity Level 4 to guide improvements at Maturity Level 5. Maturity Level 5 organizations treat change management as an ordinary business process to be performed in an orderly way on a regular basis.

Although several individuals may be performing identical competency-based processes, they frequently exhibit individual differences in the methods and work styles they use to perform their assignments. At Maturity Level 5, individuals are encouraged to make continuous improvements to their personal work processes by analyzing their work and making necessary process enhancements. Similarly, workgroups are composed of individuals who have personalized work processes. To improve the capability of the workgroup, each person's work processes must be integrated into an effective operating procedure for the workgroup. Improvements at the individual level should be integrated into improvements in the workgroup's operating process. Mentors and coaches can be provided to guide improvements at both the individual and workgroup levels. Simultaneously, the organization continually seeks methods for improving the capability of its competency-based processes.


Key Process Areas refer to the particular tasks and activities, which must be completed in order for an organization to gain maturity and progress towards optimizing their training initiatives. The following matrix identifies the appropriate Key Process Areas necessary to address each of the four themes of the P-CMM, and allow the organization to mature.

Maturity Levels

Process Categories


THEME 1:Developing Capabilities

THEME 2:Building Teams and Culture

THEME 3:Motivating and managing performance

THEME 4:Shaping the workforce



Personal Competency Development

Continuous Workforce Innovation



Team Building

Organizational Performance Alignment

Team-Based Practices

Organizational Competency Management


Competency Development

Knowledge and Skills Analysis

Participatory Culture

Competency-Based Practices

Career Development

Workforce Planning






Performance Management

Work Environment








The P-CMM adapts the architecture and the maturity framework underlying the CMM for use with people-related improvement issues. The CMM focuses on helping organizations improve their software development processes. By adapting the maturity framework and the CMM architecture, activities guided by the P-CMM can be more easily integrated into existing software process improvement programs. This section discusses using the P-CMM to guide the people-related aspects of an improvement program.

The value of the P-CMM is in the way that organizations use it. The P-CMM can be applied by an organization in two primary ways:

As a standard for assessing workforce practices

As a guide in planning and implementing improvement activities

Each key process area in the P-CMM is organized into five sections called common features. The common features (Commitment to Perform, Ability to Perform, Activities Performed, Measurement and Analysis, and Verifying Implementation) specify the key practices that, when collectively addressed, accomplish the goals of the key process area. Some of these common features implement the practices, while other common features establish the support needed to institutionalize their performance.


The P-CMM provides a standard against which the workforce practices of an organization can be assessed. A P-CMM-based assessment may be conducted by itself, or jointly with some other assessment of the organization, such as an employee opinion assessment or software process assessment. The assessment team for a P-CMM-based assessment would include at a minimum someone skilled in conducting such assessments, someone who will be involved in making P-CMM-related improvements, and someone from the human resources function. A single person may fill more than one of these roles.

During the fall of 1995 a P-CMM-based assessment method will be developed, and trial use of this method is scheduled for late 1995 and into 1996. This assessment method is planned to be compliant with the CMM Appraisal Framework [Masters95], but it will be tailored so it consumes less time and resources than a traditional software process assessment or CMM-based assessment. P-CMM-related training courses will also be available in 1996.

When a P-CMM-based assessment is conducted jointly with a software process assessment, data for the P-CMM-based assessment should be gathered separately, since the unit of study is not a project, as it is during a software process assessment. Because of its content, the P-CMM focuses on organizational units such as groups, sections, and departments, and how workforce practices are conducted within these units. Even so, a P-CMM based assessment will use many of the same conventions as a software process assessment. For example, both are performed by a trained assessment team, collect some initial data using questionnaires, observe confidentiality of the information obtained, and interview people at different levels of the organization. The results of a P-CMM-based assessment might be presented at the same time as those of a process assessment, but they should be presented as a separate analysis of the organization.

A P-CMM-based assessment will look at workforce practices as actually performed across the organization. The P-CMM assessment team determines whether a practice is implemented broadly across the organization and is institutionalized. The assessment team determines whether the goals and intent of each key process area have been implemented. However, they need not assess key process areas for maturity levels that are clearly beyond the current maturity of the organization.

The results of a P-CMM-based assessment are presented as a profile of the organization's strengths and weaknesses against the key process areas of the P-CMM. The maturity level of an organization is the lowest level for which all of the key process areas have been successfully implemented.

The results of the assessment indicate the practices or process areas that the organization should consider when initiating an improvement program.

In the future, the P-CMM should help an organization compare the maturity of its workforce practices with the state of the practice across industry. Using the P-CMM as a benchmark will require that P-CMM based assessments is submitted to a common repository, such as the Process Appraisal Information System (PAIS) at the SEI. These data will indicate trends in the industry in addition to providing a benchmark.


Workforce Planning ties the organization's workforce activities directly to its business strategy and objectives. Through workforce planning, the organization identifies the workforce it needs for its current and future business activities and plans the actions to be taken to ensure the required workforce is available when needed. The People CMM does not make an assumption that the organization must meet all of its workforce needs from within. Workforce planning could include partnerships, alliances, acquisitions, independent contracting, and other means for ensuring that the required components of workforce competencies are provided in support of business plans and objectives.

Strategic workforce plans provide those responsible for workforce activities in units with a reference for ensuring that they perform their responsibilities with an understanding of how the unit's workforce activities contribute to the business. The workforce planning process begins by identifying the current and future workforce competency needs of the organization. These needs are assessed from anticipated future developments in the business and its products, services, markets, technologies, and business processes. The organization identifies those workforce competencies where action is needed to meet these needs.

A competency develop plan is created for each workforce competency identified as needing action by the organization. Integrating these competency development plans and determining the organization's actions to provide the needed competencies over create a strategic workforce plan time. The strategic workforce plan sets long-term objectives for workforce activities at the organizational and unit levels. Performance against these plans is periodically checked and reported at the appropriate level. As part of planning their workforce activities, units set specific objectives for contributing to the organization's strategic workforce objectives while meeting the current needs of the unit. Succession plans are developed for each critical position in the organization to ensure a continuous supply of qualified position candidates.

The organization develops succession plans for its critical positions. Succession plans are developed for critical positions within the organization to ensure that qualified individuals with the required knowledge, skills, and process abilities are always available to perform the position's responsibilities. Critical positions are those positions that, because of the organization's interest in the performance of these positions, it plans for the development and career activities required to provide qualified candidates for filling them. Critical positions include more than just executive and other senior management positions. Certain technical, operational, or business positions may be designated as critical positions because of the difficulty in finding or developing individuals with the knowledge, skills, and process abilities to successfully perform in these positions.

Characteristics of critical positions include the following:

Has responsibilities that are critical to business success

Exercises influence, control, or direction over the performance of many other individuals, workgroups, or units

Requires levels of knowledge, skills, or process abilities that are not readily available or easily obtained in the labor market

Requires levels of knowledge, skills, or process abilities that are not easily developed by most individuals in relevant workforce competencies

May require specialized experiences as a component of preparation for the critical position

1. Critical positions are identified.

2. Critical position profiles are developed that provide a description of each position, the competencies required to perform its responsibilities, and critical success factors.

3. A candidate pool for each critical position is developed.

4. For individuals identified through candidate pools, staffing, performance management, training, career development, and similar development activities are based, in part, on succession planning objectives.

5. The progress made by candidates in developing the workforce competencies required for critical positions is tracked.


The P-CMM provides guidance for implementing practices in an organizational improvement program. There are two levels of guidance provided by the P-CMM: guidance on a strategy for developing the organization over time and guidance on practices that the organization can employ to solve explicit problems or shortcomings in its workforce practices.

In providing guidance, the P-CMM does not specify the explicit workforce practices to be implemented. Rather, it sets a framework for selecting and tailoring practices to the organization's history, culture, and environment. There are many professional sources that describe specific methods for workforce practices such as performance management, team building, and training.

The P-CMM does not provide guidance on how to implement the improvement program itself. The P-CMM is a roadmap for organizational growth and needs to be coupled with a model of how to implement an improvement program