The Benefits of ISO 21500 Compliance. The International Standard Organization (ISO) has been implementing standards since 1947, which are instantly recognized worldwide. ISO 21500 is a 47-page document detailing the standard guidelines for effective project management.
Both the Project Management Institute (PMI) and American Project Management (APM), two of the largest professional management organizations for Project Management, had a substantial input in the development of ISO 21500. Both the ISO 21500 and the PMI’s Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK) 6th edition have similar standards, which are structured in project management stages, topics and processes. Both the ISO 21500 and PMBoK have 5 process groups and 10 knowledge areas but while ISO 21500 has 39 processes, PMBoK has 47.
The similarities continue with the ISO 21500 having identical process groups as PMBoK, ranging from Project Initiation to Project Closure. The key knowledge areas are the same; both range from Integration to Stakeholder. The one major difference between the two is the amount of processes that PMBoK has and the size of PMBoK, some 618 pages. Some of the additional pages can be accounted for by the addition of a chapter covering the Agile Practice Guide.
ISO 21500 Compliance
The ISO 21500 is recognized globally and has a common language, which is easy to understand across country borders. PMI is a well-respected organization and their systems and concepts may already be utilized in your company.
If your organization is already committed to the PMI and PMBoK, complying with ISO 21500 will be relatively straightforward. It doesn’t conflict with the PMI as the PMI had considerable input into it. Instead it will reinforce your commitment to quality project management methods and practices. What a great marketing message for your organization!
It provides guidance on concepts and processes of project management, which can have a positive impact on the performance of projects. It explains the practical application on how to deliver projects successfully and ensure sustainability in the future.
It doesn’t matter whether you are an executive with a specific interest in getting orientation on portfolio management and organizational project management, a project manager or a Project Management Office (PMO) member who wants to improve the management of a project. At a high level, ISO 21500 covers all of these aspects. It will help to drive consistency in project management right across the organization.
ISO 21500 is guidance for any type of organization, including public, private or community organizations, and for any type of project, regardless of its complexity, size or duration. It can encourage project leaders to transfer knowledge between projects and improve project delivery. As a guidance to project management, it can be uniquely tailored to successfully deliver projects while adhering to the needs and culture of your organization.
The document is concise and the statements are very clear and understandable. It crosses language barriers for people whose first language may not be English, by supporting concepts with figure diagrams. In an increasing global economy, international projects can be standardized for all project professionals involved.
ISO 21500 compliance will help you to plan, manage and monitor the progress of a project. Based on best practices, it will provide the guidelines on how to productively document and drive results. A company following ISO 21500 proves that they possess the necessary skills and processes to lead projects effectively.
Organizational maturity can be defined as stages through which organization’s progress is measured. Typically, companies implement, evolve, and improve their processes, strategy, and decision-making.
At Level 1 processes are ad hoc and occasionally chaotic. The organization does not provide a stable environment to support functional capability and success may depend upon individual effort.
At Level 2 the relevant functions are managed. The overall lifecycle-based process ensures that procedures are maintained during times of stress and progress is visible to management at defined points.
At Level 3 functions are managed to capability. Projects, programs or portfolios have tailored functional procedures and perform these within a centrally defined set of lifecycle-based processes. The organization looks to improve processes and procedures.
At Level 4 projects and programs are quantitatively managed; performance metrics are assessed and used to control future performance. Quality and performance is understood in statistical terms.
At Level 5 an organization is optimal as continuous process improvement is achieved by quantitative feedback from the process, which includes innovative ideas and technologies.
Most organizations strive to achieve maturity Level 3. This reflects an effective organization where there are few cost overruns, greater predictability in the achievement of objectives and more robust project delivery. With ISO 21500 compliance, organizational maturity in project management has the potential to be driven to the next level.
Smaller independent companies can verify that they are complying with ISO 21500 guidelines. They demonstrate that they are competent in project management concepts, processes, etc. and serious about the business of project management.
By complying with ISO 21500 when bidding on new projects, the prospective client will be reassured that you are adhering to a reputable standard. It can be a market differentiator when you are making proposals if your competitor is not complying with ISO 21500.
Whether it’s to improve your own career prospects, conform to an international standard or drive organizational project performance to a higher level, ISO 21500 was five years in the making and involved both the PMI and APM. Internationally, it provides a common language and universal project management principles and processes. It can offer increased customer satisfaction, improved growth and development within a team and a competitive edge!