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New ISO standard on project management

by Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis on
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Project management

With pressure on business for faster and cheaper results, a new ISO standard for good practice in project management will increase efficiency and maximize the effect of investments.

ISO 21500:2012, Guidance on project management, can be used by any type of organization, including public, private or community organizations, and for any type of project, irrespective of complexity, size and duration.

Project management is now big business. According to the Anderson Economic Group study commissioned by the Project Management Institute, over 24.4 million employees were participating in projects in 11 major economies in 2006. By 2016, this demand will exist to support 32.6 million employees in the same countries.

ISO 21500 provides high-level description of concepts and processes that are considered to form good practice in project management. New project managers as well as experienced managers will be able to use the project management guidance in this standard to improve project success and achieve business results.

Miles Shepherd, Chair of the ISO project committee that developed the new standard, states: “ISO 21500 enables people in any organization to understand how the discipline fits into a business environment. It is also intended to be used as a basic guide, aimed at the informed reader without an in-depth knowledge of project management.”

Additional benefits of ISO 21500 include:

  • Encourage transfer of knowledge between projects and organizations for improved project delivery
  • Facilitate efficient tendering processes through the use of consistent project management terminology
  • Enable the flexibility of project management employees and their ability to work on international projects
  • Provide universal project management principles and processes

Karl Best, Secretary of the project committee, comments: “In an increasingly global economy project managers need guidance to help them understand the basic principles of managing projects. ISO 21500 can help those involved in projects improve the success of a wide variety of project types.”

ISO 21500 is the first in a planned family of project management standards. It is designed to align with related International Standards such as ISO 10006:2003, Quality management systems − Guidelines for quality management in projects, ISO 10007:2003, Quality management systems − Guidelines for configuration management, ISO 31000:2009, Risk management – Principles and guidelines, and some sector-specific standards in industries such as aerospace and IT.

ISO 21500:2012, Guidance on project management, was developed by ISO project committee ISO/PC 236, Project management, and is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details). It may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, price 140 Swiss francs respectively through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing, Communication & Information department.