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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
The People Capability Maturity Model
Author:
Bill Curtis et al.
ISBN:
0 201 60445 0
Publisher:
Addison-Wesley
Pages:
pp588
Price:
£45-99
Reviewer:
Francis Glassborow
Subject:
management
Appeared in:
14-3
A long time ago in IT terms SEI came up with the Capability Maturity Model. This was a pragmatic set of levels of achievement for the process of producing software. The objective of CMM was to produce guidelines for the progressive improvement of the process of producing software. However that focused on only one half of the problem. This book attempts to delineate a path to producing a consistently better workforce.

The sub-title of this book is 'Guidelines for Improving the Workforce'. We can view that in several ways some of which can be quite scary. Most of us do not want to work in a big brother type world where everything is programmed. There is certainly a danger that some managers might view PCMM as a set of automated rules for getting a more productive workforce. But these managers already manage by rigid mechanisms and find it hard to learn to change. I think that in practice such managers will find it hard to apply the guidelines provided by this book, and if they try to do so they might just possibly break out of the mould.

Just as with CMM, individuals cannot do much with it. It needs a high degree of commitment from management. However a study of this book would arm you with a coherent strategy, which you can promote at every opportunity. It is important to recognise that just as with CMM, PCMM is a long-term strategy. If your employer is not prepared to develop their workforce over years, indeed, decades then they will not make progress.

One area that a book like this might help with is where a company already has good workforce management but is not aware of what it is that they are doing right. In such circumstances the company is vulnerable to changes that are made without understanding. So perhaps it is the already good employers who will make the best use of the ideas presented here in order to maintain their current achievements as wellas recognise ways they can make further progress.

I warn you that this is a tough read, and unless you can see genuine possibilities to utilise the ideas presented, it will be a depressing one. Perhaps the best people to read this book are managers of smallish companies that have ambition to be long-term players.