MB012- Project Management Standard Committee

Information about ISO 21500: Guide to Project Management

Some might not see a need for another project management standard. The reason for development of ISO 21500 is to create a single, over arching standard that will be accepted Internationally. As projects become more international, it is no longer good enough to work to individual country standards. Diifferent country standards will inevitably lead to misunderstanding, mistakes and litigation as well as contribute to project failures.

Across the world, the following Bodies of Knowledge/guides exist:


  • PMI, PMBOK -Focus on processes (input-output descriptors), glossary, includes techniques.
  • PMI - Project Portfolio Management. . PMI - Program Management
  • APM BOK - 52 knowledge areas under 7 groupings, programme, portfolio and project management, business, strategic and commercial aspects, includes techniques.
  • P2M - Focus on project and programme management and on innovation

Standards (non-competency based)

  • BS6079 - Focus is on overall PM principles, vocabulary, Quality, Business Risk
  • ANSI Standard- ANSI/PMI 99-001-2004 - Focus on processes, glossary.
  • DIN - 69900, 69901
  • ANFOR Standards FD X50 series - Focus on general principles, vocabulary, management by projects, knowledge areas, certification, recommendations for implementation

Competency Standards

  • NCSPM- IBSA . AIPM Standards.
  • IMPA's ICB .
  • South Africa PMSGB/SAQA:  National Certificate in Generic Project Management (Project Administration and Coordination).
  • PMI's Project Manager Competency Development Framework(PMCDF)


  • OPM3 - Focus on project management maturity and business improvement.
  • UK OGC's P3M3 - Focus on project and programme management maturity.
  • UK OGC's PRINCEII and MSP - Focus on structured methodologies for projects and programs
  • PMI Unified Project Management Lexicon - about to be launched!

ISO 21500 Guide to Project Management is aimed at:

  • Establishing an overarching global body of knowledge/ guideline for Project Management
  • Becoming a common platform which will become a reference baseline for the project management community and facilitate knowledge transfer and the harmonisation of principles, vocabulary and processes in existing and future Standards.
  • It can be referenced by all types of organisations, regardless of their line of business, industry or sector, the service provided, or the product manufactured, who are involved in one or more projects, regardless of their size and complexity.

About the Standard

The standard is intended to:

  • Take account of latest developments in International Project Management
  • Reflect the best that we all have to offer
  • Address most projects most of the time
  • Not nullify or negate existing standards
  • Identify potential future standards
  • Flexible enough to support differences
  • Process oriented: "What", not "How"

Benefits of ISO 21500

The new standard will provide the following key benefits to the project management community:

  • Aid in the transfer of knowledge between projects and organisations resulting in improved project delivery.
  • Facilitate more efficient tendering processes through the use of consistent project management terminology.
  • Enable multi-national organisations to coordinate their project management processes and systems.
  • Facilitate the mobility of project management personnel and their ability to work on international projects.
  • Provide a framework which can be used as the basis for mapping of certification programs globally and therefore assist in their reciprocity.
  • Provide a framework for project management generic principles and processes that could be built upon for the advancement of the project management profession.

Standards Australia Project Manager
Eddie McGuire
Email: Eddie.McGuire@standards.org.au
P +61 2 9237 6035