Angel BernizAngel Berniz was Director of ProjectManagers.org and spoke at Nordic Project Zone. He is talking about ISO 21500, a new standard for project management. I spoke with him about the importance of this new standard and its impact on project managers.
Angel, please tell me why ISO 21500 is important for project management.
ISO 21500 is the recognition for a profession that has been developed in the past four decades. It contains nearly 40 pages of all the knowledge required to manage projects.
It was developed by volunteers from more than 40 nations. There is no commercial intent. It is important because it is the International Standard project management framework. This is essential in today’s globalized world where anyone can lead a project from any location.
Did you find anything unexpected in the standard?
Yes, there were new points. The most important was the incorporation Stakeholder Management. Later, PMI’s 5th edition of A Guide to The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOKr) added this feature. ProjectManagers.org celebrated this renewed focus on people because it is something we share. We are not a project manager community, but we are a community of project managers.
What direction do you see individual standards such as PMBOK(r), going? Do you think they will all be unified?
Project management is evolving to be more agile. PMI has done this with a new Agile Certification Scheme. Problem is, PMI now has two worlds. The Agile Methodologies and the waterfall PMBOK(r). PMI played a significant role in the ISO 21500 implementation. They coordinated the dates between ISO 21500 implementations and the PMBOK (r) 5th Edition. They will be kept in line, I’m sure.
What will it mean for project managers?
I believe there are still companies today that don’t use formal project management. They manage projects and only execute tasks. Others use project management only for large projects. They do not apply it for projects lasting more than a month. Some others use some form of project management, but they are not internationally recognized standards. They could be asked to use other frameworks depending on where they are required to deliver their project. The new ISO 21500 standard will work regardless of the approach taken by a company.
I believe that ISO 21500 will change the way we manage projects. It is easy to apply by any type of business, big or small.
This new ISO 21500 standard is amazing. It only defines the Processes and Inputs and Outputs, but not the Tools or Techniques. This is where Agile comes in. Agile ISO 21500 can be used without having to choose between agile and waterfall. This approach allows ISO 21500 to have wider applications than PMBOK (r). If one prefers a waterfall approach, ISO 21500 may be used in conjunction with PMBOK(r). The real power lies in adding Agile to ISO 21500.
How easy is it for a project manager to adopt the new standard?
It is easy to adopt ISO 21500. In fact, the guidelines are approximately 40 pages long. There are no excuses not to read and try it out. It is easy to implement project management for beginners. PMI professionals will find the outline reference useful for guiding their projects.
Okay, now what is your advice on putting it into action?
It is important to consider your project stages and the project management deliverables required for each phase. Don’t let yourself be blinded by using the subject groups (PMBOK) as a reference.