ISO 21500 A Guide to Project Management moves forward

This post is being written from a freezing Paris in the shadows of Le Stade de France. As a consequence of Le Grand Froid temperatures have barely risen above zero all week (Melbourne winter coats are not quite enough to deal with temperatures as low as -8oC). The fortitude of French Rugby Union fans celebrating their team’s win over Italy by drinking cold beer from outdoor stalls in temperatures hovering around -5oC can only be admired……

Despite the cold, the committee stages of ISO-21500 Guide to Project Management concluded successfully in Paris this week. As with any international committee process the final outcome is a melding of different concepts and perspectives and the journey was as important as this initial destination.

The final draft standard will be complied in the next couple of weeks following definition, language and translatability checks by the team I’m part of and then a grooming edit to make sure the document flows smoothly by the ‘Editing Committee’ – importantly, theses checks will not change any aspect of the technical content merely start the pre-publication processes.

Once the drafting is 100% complete, the document is handed on to the ISO Secretariat to prepare for a vote of all international standards organisations world- wide and assuming a successful ballot, the new ISO 21500 will be published late 2012. The end of a 5 year journey!

Publishing ISO 21500 is only start of a process to develop a family of portfolio, program and project management standards. A new ISO technical committee TC258 has been established with a mission/vision to create a useful and functional set of integrated standards to help improve project management world-wide. This development will take a significant amount of time and will seek to meet the needs of all sizes of organisation from small business through to major corporations and governments.

To start moving forward on the right track, work has started within TC258 to develop consensus on the overall framework that defines project, program and portfolio management. Because of the wide diversity of approaches, consensus is needed at both the conceptual level – what the ideas actually are; then at the semantic level – what do the words describing the ideas precisely mean. This work will define one dimension of the framework the standards will be developed within. Another key boundary is the interaction between PPP processes and the organisation they serve, including the governance dimension and the links to ongoing operations. Another dimension is the different stakeholder communities the standards are being developed for and by – Directors, senior executives, managers, practitioners and/or a wider public.

Within the boundaries created by this emerging framework, the architecture defining the components that make up the overall discipline of portfolio, program and project management will need to be developed and agreed, including understanding how the different components interact and support each other.

To understand the complexities involved in this work, our updated White Paper A PPP Taxonomy outlines my view of overall architecture. However, we still have a long way to go to reach a genuine consensus world-wide!!!


3 responses to “ISO 21500 A Guide to Project Management moves forward

  1. Thanks for the heads up on ISO 21500. I’ll be keen to see how the International view of Project Management turns out.

    Sounds like TC258 has a lot of work ahead.



  2. Pingback: ISO 21500 nun im Feintuningsprozess für die finale Abstimmung « Unlocking Potential

  3. Hi Pat, Thanks for the blog. Very interesting developments that will be very keenly followed by many of us

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