Tag Archives: ISO21500

How useful are BOKs?

We have the PMBOK® Guide, the APM BoK and many other BoKs and standards ranging from ISO 21500 to the PMI Practice standards.

We personally think they are useful and commit a significant amount of volunteer time to developing standards through PMI and ISO; as are certifications to demonstrate a person has a good understanding of the relevant BoK (and we make money out of running our training courses).

However, we are fully aware that passing a knowledge based credential does not demonstrate competency (and that passing a competency based assessment does not demonstrate transferable knowledge – both are needed see: Developing Competency).

We are also aware that too many organisations place too much emphasis on ‘ticking boxes’ rather then taking time to assess people or optimise solutions. The easy tick in the box may avoid ownership of a problem but also tends to avoid the solution itself……

For these reasons we commend the Association for Project Management (APM – UK, publisher of the APM BoK) for publishing a short video, based on a talk given by our friend and colleague, Dr. Jon Whitty to the APM in Reading UK in Nov last year. I hope it starts you thinking.

See the video: http://www.apm.org.uk/news/courageous-conversation#.UXE_pLXfCSp

ISO 21500 moves a step nearer publication

ISO 21500, Guidance on project management, has been unanimously approved in an international ballot of participating national standards authorities with 33 countries voting in favour of the standard. Based on this approval, it is expect that ISO will publish 21500 as an International Standard in about a month.

The Australian committee is supportive of the way the text of ISO 21500 has progressed over the recent past and will proceed to local adoption of the text as AS 21500. However, we are strongly of the opinion that the usability of the standard will be significantly improved by the incorporation of the restructuring we recommended and will incorporate this recommendation into its local adoption.

This new standard complements the existing ISO 10006:2003 Quality management systems – Guidelines for quality management in projects. ISO 10006 gives guidance on the application of quality management to projects and 21500 is a guide to process of project management.

Overall a good start but we still have a long way to go.

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!!!

Project Management Standardisation

The ISO Technical Management Board has approved the proposal submitted last summer by ANSI and BSI to create a new ISO Technical Committee for Project, Programme, and Portfolio Management, TC258. The ANSI (USA) will provide the secretariat for TC258 and the BSI (United Kingdom) will provide the chairmanship.

The Project Committee, PC236, I have been involved with over several years focuses on a single standard and its work on ISO 21500 – Guide to Project Management is nearing completion with final publication expected in 2012.

The purpose of a Technical Committee is to address a complete domain of interest and will expand on the work to deliver 21500 to develop a range of standards at both the technical level and in allied disciplines such as program and ‘project portfolio’ management.

I believe this is a positive step towards the emergence of project management as a global profession. There’s a long way to go to develop a business plan and then develop a range of useful standard but the journey has begun!

Defining Project Management Terminology

This is the end of a busy week in Rio de Janeiro working with the ISO PC236 committee drafting ISO21500 – Guide to Project Management. My particular area of interest is terminology and one of the more interesting debates was around what’s produced and created by a project. The Dutch delegation started the ball rolling with a very well thought out proposal, this is my personal views on what makes sense at the end of a long week discussing this and a wide range of other comments and issues on the standard.

The first line of discussion was around the creation of the projects ‘outputs’, both deliverables and project management outputs.

  • Processes transform one or more inputs into one or more outputs by applying tools of techniques. This applies to production processes used to create deliverables and project management processes used to manage the work of the project. Therefore:
  • Outputs are created by a process. Most outputs are inputs to other processes; many project management outputs are used within the project to manage the work.
  • Deliverables are the final outputs that are transferred to a third party outside of the project, usually either the customer or the performing organisation.

The second, more important line of discussion focused on understanding the project’s goals and objectives. The way these elements interact are:

  • Project Goals describe the overarching purposes for which the project was created. They tend to be wide reaching and related to the expectations of senior managers and clients. The ultimate success of the project is dependent on achieving its goals. There are two broad types of goals:
    • Goals focused around the realisation of the benefits the project was created to enable. Projects rarely deliver benefits directly, see: Value is in the eye of the stakeholder
    • Goals linked to the project achieving is stated objectives.
  • Project Objectives are the direct responsibility of the project manager. He or she should be assigned the authority, responsibility and necessary resources to achieve the defined project objectives. Objectives fall into two broad categories:
    • Objectives that are achieved by undertaking the project work in an appropriate way. These include objectives such as safety, sustainability, workforce development and stakeholder management.
    • Objectives that are achieved as a consequence of successfully completing the project, the deliverables. These include enhancements to the Organisational Process Assets (OPA) of the performing organisation and the assets transferred to the customer.

The successful delivery of ‘deliverables’ includes achieving technical requirements such as time, cost and scope; plus stakeholder requirements such as value and usefulness (see more on stakeholder management).

Whilst benefits realisation it is usually outside of the objectives that can reasonably be assigned to the Project Manager, the project team are responsible for making sure what they deliver is what is needed to facilitate the organisation (or client) in achieving the overall goals the work of the project is central to achieving; see: Avoiding the Successful Failure!.

The question is, does this structure work in for you? Your comments will be appreciated.