Implementing Agile with the People-CMM

Happy workforce agile peopl-cmmMore and more organizations are adopting Agile ways of working. The descriptions of Agile methodologies give much guidance on how to manage on a team level. But there is limited information on changes needed at higher level in the organizations. The People Capability Maturity Model ® (People-CMM) helps organizations to establish and improve their workforce, and assure that the right conditions are established for Scrum teams to excel their performance by supporting the combination of CMMI and Agile.

Agile assumes that an organization has a professional workforce, which is managed and supported in such a way that it is able to do its work effectively. But there is only limited information in today’s agile methods on how to develop and manage this workforce. Organizations are uncovering better ways to do process improvement, and the People-CMM helps them to do this. Originally developed as a supporting model for becoming agile and lean, and focus on their workforce when improving their organization in a sustainable way.

You can use the People-CMM to support Agile Adoption, with a roadmap of People-CMM process areas that an organization can implement as a start to reap quick business benefits. The process areas do not replace Agile methods; they are used additional to the Agile methods to support their implementation, and can help you to manage projects with agile teams. A full description of the People-CMM roadmap for Agile can be found in a People-CMM article published in Software Quality Professional titled Can the P-CMM be used to implement Agile in organizations?.

Some of the problems that organizations that implement Agile experience are

  • Communication difficulties between new Agile teams and the existing line organization
  • Problems in fulfilling the higher work environment demands from Agile teams
  • Difficulties establishing ways to reward and support team culture, behaviour and results
  • Assuring the availability of the right competencies and skills, in time when teams need it
  • They have to find new ways to share and re-use knowledge and experience across teams
  • Existing management styles that conflict with the agile principles

The core of the roadmap consists of 3 process areas, Staffing, Communication and Coordination and Participatory Culture. Staffing assures the availability of teams of professionals, Communication and Coordination assures that they have the right information, and are able to collaborate effectively and Participatory Culture empowers teams and enables them to take effective decisions. The practices in these 3 process areas support each other and therefore should be aligned as much as possible. They are the base for 3 other process areas. Compensation rewards the teams for their contribution towards the company results, where Work Environment provides them with the means needed to work efficiently and Competency Development enables them to continuously improve themselves to deliver value .

The People-CMM roadmap for Agile has been published in Can the P-CMM be used to implement Agile in organizations?. This article helps an organization to focus upon the critical people issues that need to be addressed when migrating to Agile. It also describes how the changes can be implemented in an Agile way, enabling a flexible organization that is able to continuously improve.

(This blog was posted on december 11, 2010 and updated march 11, 2013: New information about deploying the People-CMM with the CMMI for Agile Process Improvement).

Ben Linders

I help organizations with effective software development and management practices. Active member of several networks on Agile, Lean and Quality, and a frequent speaker and writer.

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