With ISO 21500 now in the public domain there seems to be a rush of people wanting to make money out of the document, primarily talking about certification and assessment. People proposing these concepts either don’t understand the basics of project management or don’t care, assuming organisations that buy their services are even less informed.
Whilst anyone can offer a certification based on knowledge of the standard, this will be a simple memory test with no real relevance to project management capabilities for the simple reason ISO 21500 set out what needs to be achieved, not how to achieve it.
This is quite different to the PMBOK® Guide and APM BoK, and other bodies of knowledge that contain a substantial amount of useful knowledge and is the key differentiator between a ‘standard’ and a BoK – standards define ‘what’; BoKs demonstrate ‘how’. The actual ‘ANSI standard’ in the PMBOK® Guide is one short chapter in the 4th Edition and an appendix in the 5th Edition. The balance of the 400+ pages in the PMBOK contain useful knowledge, and therefore by definition, are not part of the standard.
Similarly, because ISO21500 it is a standard, it IS NOT a methodology and bears no resemblance to a methodology. Organisations can build their methodology based on a standard but this involves a lot of work. To understand the differences between standards and methodologies see: http://mosaicprojects.wordpress.com/2009/04/11/pmbok-v-methodology/ and for more on developing a methodology see: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/WhitePapers/WP1045_Methodologies.pdf
Whilst I’m sure someone will be offering certification options for commercial reasons before long. The processes defined in ISO21500 are at a very high level and certifying that someone has for example ‘developed a schedule’ is next to useless (but this is all ISO21500 will support). A valid certification should look at the quality and use of the schedule not the simple fact a piece of paper called a schedule exists! There are valid assessment models available like P3M3 and OPM3 that are designed to assess maturity; for more on these models see: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/PM-Knowledge_Index.html#OrgGov5
Just for the record, ISO21500 was not designed to facilitate certification or accreditation; it has been designed to provide an overarching framework to facilitate the alignment of national standards and terminology world-wide. If it achieves this, the standard will enable the standardisation of the practice of project management globally over time and will have achieved its primary design objective.