Are your professionals empowered?

People CMMSome companies say that “people are our most important resource”. I’d rather use the term “professionals”, since they are trained, have build up experience and are continuously developing themselves to deliver value for your customers. Question is: Are they empowered to do this in a efficient and effective way? The People-CMM can be used to develop a powerful professional workforce, supporting  self-organizing agile teams.

Why would you want to empower your professionals? Empowering them makes it possible for them to take decisions and actions, which can significantly speed up things in your organization. They will be more involved and motivated, which increases productivity of your company. And they will be able to develop themselves, which increases the quality of the work that they do. Last but not least, professionals get more pride doing their work, feel rewarded by the results that they are able to deliver, and thus will feel better.

To become empowered, professionals need to have sufficient and timely information that enables them to take decisions. Information = power, so sharing information with your employees gives them the power to act. Many organizations struggle what to communicate, how, and when, thereby missing opportunities to empower their professionals. The People-CMM® contains several best practices that help you to implement and improve communication practices in your organization.

One organization that I worked with was implementing a team working program. They wanted to empower their teams to shorten their product development lifecycle. The People-CMM process area Communication & Coordinator covered many aspects that their managers used to realize the empowerment, like policies and practices for sharing information, tips on how to use the employee survey to get insight in the desired information and solutions for developing communications skills & practices.

Several managers experimented with sharing information, using different means and settings. They distributed emails to their employees, and arrange discussions in department meetings on relevant topics. They also made it clear that if teams wanted certain information, the team could come forward and discuss it with them. Looking back there were several situations where teams became more able to manage their work and self-organize, given the information that they had.

Managers saw that sharing information, which initially meant more work for them, improved collaboration within the teams, and between the teams and themselves; which saved them time in having to do less coordination. And the teams were able to develop and deliver their software quicker, since they were able to take many decisions themselves, in stead of being dependent on decisions that had to be taken by their managers (or their manager’s managers).

The People CMM is a supporting model for the CMMI Based. By focusing on people it enables sustainable process improvement. You can use the People-CMM to support Agile Adoption with a roadmap of People-CMM process areas to reap quick business benefits.

If you expect you professionals to work efficiently and effective, then you have to make this possible by empowering them by providing the information that they need. It will cost you some time initially, but the investment in your professionals will result in delivering products and services quicker, with a higher quality.

(This post was published Mar 11 2011 and updated Jan 2 2014: Updated links to the CMMI Institute who has become responsible for the People-CMM and refreshed the text)

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.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. David Koontz

    The People-CMM link is defunct at the SEI / CMMI site. Do you have a better link / update? I’m interested in that topic. Thanks!

    1. BenLinders

      David, the link has been updated. It now refers to the People CMM pages at the CMMI Instute. Hope this helps?

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