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ISO 21500 Guidance on project Management

▷ Introduction

This International Standard provides guidance on concepts and processes of project management that are important for, and have impact on, the performance of projects.

The target readership for this International Standard is the following:

  • senior managers and project sponsors, in order to provide them with a better understanding of the principles and practice of project management and to help them give appropriate support and guidance to their project managers, project management teams and project teams;
  • project managers, project management teams and project team members, so that they have a common basis upon which to compare their project standards and practices with those of others;
  • developers of national or organizational standards, for use in developing project management standards, which are consistent at a core level with those of others.

 

▷ Overview

ISO 21500 was developed to offer guidance on the concepts and processes of project management with the goal of implementing processes and best practices to improve project management performance. While, the standard describes important concepts and processes of project management it does not provide detailed guidance and general management topics are limited to relevant aspects of project management. The standard as developed by the ISO was modeled on the Project Management Institute's Body of Knowledge (PMBoK), although there are some key differences.
The ISO project management standard is only 47 pages long and is limited to the introduction of the processes, their inputs, and their outputs. The PMI standard is more than 450 pages in length and describes processes, inputs, outputs and associated tools and techniques. Both organizations use the concept of process as an integral part of project management. ISO and PMI segregate project processes into five process groups with some minor variances in labeling. The differences between the two standards is minimal with respect to process groups and subjects/knowledge areas. The substantive difference in the two standards is with the detail and description of tools and techniques, because ISO 21500:2012 do not provide it. Another major change is the introduction of a new subject by ISO, namely, "stakeholder management"

The guidance provided by this International Standard can be used by any type of organization, including public, private or community organizations, and for any type of project, irrespective complexity, size or duration.

Even though the projects are placed in the context of program and project portfolios, this International Standard does not provide detailed guidance on the management of program and project portfolios.

It provides a better understanding of the principles and practice of project management.
The target readership of ISO 21500 is the following:

  • Senior managers and project sponsors
  • Project managers, project management teams and project team members
  • Developers of national or organizational standards



▷ Key Clauses of ISO 21500:2013

ISO 21500 is organized into the following main clauses:
Clause 3: Project Management Concepts
Clause 4: Project Management Processes


▷ Clause 3: Project Management Concepts

This clause describes key concepts applicable to most projects and environments in which they are performed.
The key concepts in project management according to ISO 21500 are:

  • Project
  • Project management
  • Organizational strategy and projects
  • Project environment
  • Project governance
  • Projects and operations
  • Stakeholders and project organization
  • Competencies of project personnel
  • Project life cycle
  • Project constraints
  • Relationship between project management concepts and processes

 

▷ Clause 4: Project Management Processes

This clause identifies the recommended project management processes to be used during a project as a whole, for individual phases or both.
The project management processes can be viewed from two different perspectives, as:

  1. Process groups for the management of the project;
    Each process group consists of processes that are applicable to any project phase or project. These processes, defined in terms of purpose, description and primary inputs and outputs, are interdependent .The process groups are independent of application area or industry focus
  2. Subject groups for collecting the processes by subject
    Each subject group consists of processes applicable to any project phase or project. These processes are defined in terms of purpose, description and primary inputs and outputs, and are interdependent. Subject groups are independent of application area or industry focus.


The five process groups are

  1. Initiating: processes performed to define a new project or a new phase of an existing project by obtaining authorization to start the project or phase.
  2. Planning: Those processes required to establish the scope of the project, refine the objectives, and define the course of action required to attain the objectives that the project was undertaken to achieve.
  3. Executing: Those processes performed to complete the work defined in the project management plan to satisfy the project specifications
  4. Monitoring and Controlling: Those processes required to track, review, and regulate the progress and performance of the project; identify any areas in which changes to the plan are required; and initiate the corresponding changes.
  5. Closing: Those processes performed to finalize all activities across all Process Groups to formally close the project or phase.

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