The Adoption and Transformation of Capability Maturity Models in Government

The Adoption and Transformation of Capability Maturity Models in Government

Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch306
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Capability maturity models (CMM), an out growth of the decades old quality movement, and originally developed by Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute for the US Defense Department in the 1980s as a way to improve software engineering, has become the inspiration for similar models addressing every aspect of public management by governments around the world. CMM posits several evolutionary stages that organizations must pass through to achieve increasingly higher levels of capability in achieving quality. Stages are determined by research evidence, expert opinion, best practices and evaluations. While CMM has produced some impressive gains, it has drawn criticism for lacking a theoretical underpinning, exorbitant costs, being somewhat subjective and lack of success in many organizations. The field has no universal agreed upon standards, so it may be necessary to create an organization to study and vet various CMM applications. The field as it matures presents an excellent opportunity to study public management in the context of organizations employing CMM.
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The CMM Methodology

Most, if not all, CMM frameworks have the same basic methodology. This is how the CMU’s Software Engineering Institute’s CMM model works in the context of human resource management (P-CMM) (Curtis, Hefley, Miller, 2009).

Figure 1.

The five maturity levels of the P-CMM1

Source: Curtis, Hefley, Miller (2009).

The model’s purpose is to “help organizations characterize the maturity of their workforce practices, establish a program of continuous workforce development, set priorities for improvement actions, integrate workforce development with process improvement, and establish a culture of excellence”(p.8).

The model “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.”

“Each maturity level consists of three to seven process areas, identifying a cluster of related practices that, when performed collectively, achieve a set of goals considered important for enhancing workforce capability. Each process area organizes a set of interrelated practices in a critical area of workforce management, such as staffing, compensation, or workgroup development” (p.45). Process areas are linked to specific measurable goals to be achieved for each maturity level.

The model is grounded in standard process improvement practices common to most high performing, successful organizations. The model is best-practices based. These serve as a reference model against which an organization’s process improvements are benchmarked. “Workforce practices are standard organizational processes that can be improved continuously through the same methods that have been used to improve other business processes.” This is accomplished by means of a “standard appraisal method for process improvement” (SCAMPI) (p.9). The model is evidence-based.

The model incorporates common best practices, such as:

… competency modeling, 360º performance reviews, Web-enabled learning, knowledge management, team building, cool space, participatory decision making, incentive-based pay, mentoring, meeting management, and empowered work (p.26).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Process Improvement: Improving operations to increase efficiency, effectiveness and economy.

Reference Model: A model based on best practices and research that serves a comparator against which to evaluate a model under assessment.

Maturity Stages: Clearly delineated stages that represent increasingly greater levels of competency or capability.

Model: An abstraction or representation which captures the essence of an organization, process, or operation to improve performance.

Practice: An activity, performance or exercise intended to become more proficient.

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