The ISO 21500 standards are developed by the International Standards Organization (ISO) headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. What many folks, in the project management community, may not realize is that the ISO 21500 standard for project management is actually a growing series of standards covering different elements of Project, Programme and Portfolio Management.
Another important thing to note, is that other standards bodies including the Project Management Institute (PMI), Association of Project Managers (APM), PRINCE2, etc. collaborated with ISO to make sure that their existing standards align with the ISO 21500 series. This avoids conflicting standards and ensures the industry moves forward in a consistent and cohesive way. One way to look at ISO 21500, is that it’s a culmination of best project management practices. It is truly a global project management standard for the project management industry.
The Technical Committee at ISO, called ISO/TC258, develops the standards for project, programme, and portfolio management as well as related topics. The ISO/TC258 committee has developed to date, the following standards published by ISO:
Project, Programme and Portfolio Management – Guidance on Project Management
ISO 21500:2012 provides high-level description of concepts and processes that are considered to form good practice in project management. Projects are placed in the context of programmes and project portfolios, however, ISO 21500:2012 does not provide detailed guidance on the management of programmes and project portfolios. Topics pertaining to general management are addressed only within the context of project management.
Project, Programme and Portfolio Management – Guidance on Programme Management
ISO 21503:2017 provides high-level descriptions of relevant terms, definitions, concepts, prerequisites and practices, including roles and responsibilities that form good practice in programme management. It does not provide guidance on processes, methods and tools.
Project, Programme and Portfolio Management – Guidance on Portfolio Management
The guidance presented in ISO 21504:2015 is intended to be adapted to suit the specific environment of the project and programme portfolio. ISO 21504:2015 does not provide guidance on project management, programme management, or general business portfolio management (e.g. financial portfolio management).
Project, Programme and Portfolio Management – Guidance on Governance
ISO 21505:2017 is intended for governing bodies and executive and senior management who influence, impact or make decisions regarding the governance of projects, programmes and portfolios. It is also intended to provide guidance to those who direct projects, programmes and portfolios, such as sponsors, steering committees, portfolio owners and the project management office.
Earned Value Management in Project and Programme Management
ISO 21508:2018 provides guidance for practices of earned value management in project and programme management. ISO 21508:2018 provides the following:
- terms and definitions;
- descriptions of the purpose and benefits of earned value management;
- the integration and relationship with project or programme management;
- an overview of the processes and process descriptions;
- basic requirements for an earned value management system;
- use of an earned value management system.
Annexes A, B and C describe cost, schedule and performance analysis, commonly used formulae with associated interpretations, and the integration of earned value with other project or programme management processes.
Work Breakdown Structures for Project and Programme Management
This document provides guidance for work breakdown structures for organizations undertaking project or programme management. ISO 21511 provides relevant terms and definitions, concepts, characteristics, benefits, uses, integration and relationships related to work breakdown structures.
Annexes A and B provide examples of work breakdown structures and relationships to other breakdown structures.
What’s Next? Planned Standards and Revisions
But that’s not all. The ISO/TC258 committee is also developing a new standard which we can expect to see released in Quarter 3 of this year. The next scheduled plenary meeting of ISO/TC258 for this standard is scheduled for September 10-14 in the city of San Miguel, Peru.
- ISO 21506 – Vocabulary for Project, Programme and Portfolio Management
Not to stand still, the ISO/TC258 committee is working on updates and revisions to the following standard:
- ISO 21500:2012 – Project, Programme and Portfolio Management – Guidance on Project Management (publication expected 2021). This is aimed to be an overarching document describing the PPP environment.
Also, the busy committee is working on a new standard covering Project Management Competencies. We should expect to see this standard in 2022.
Learn about our ISO 21500 Assessment and how you can benchmark your organization against these standards.
For more on these standards and what the ISO/TC258 committee is up to, click here.