ISO 21500: Guidance to Project Management

From ISO's website:


ISO 21500:2012 provides guidance for project management and can be used by any type of organization, including public, private or community organizations, and for any type of project, irrespective of complexity, size or duration.

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.

This new standard, released in September 2012, started as early as 2006 when the British Standards Institute approached ISO to work on an ISO standard for Project Management. A Technical Committee (TC236) was established consisting of 37 participating and 14 observing countries. TC236 developed and published the standard.  It is important to note that the secretariat for TC236 was provided by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) which recognized PMI's A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) as a national standard in 2008. ANSI accredited PMI as a standards developer in 1998.

Taking a closer look at the contents of ISO 21500:2012 shows clearly how closely related it is to PMBOK. In 2008 PMBOK was in its fourth edition. Recently the fifth edition was published.

Clause 1 Scope

A very short clause describing that this standard provides an overarching guidance on project management, is aimed for all sorts of organizations and is place in context of portfolio and programme management.

Clause 2 Terms and definitions

A numbered alphabetical list of some key project management terms and definitions. Nothing special and not very detailed.

Clause 3 Project management concepts


Clause 4 Project management processes


Annex A (informative) Process group processes mapped to subject groups


{Work in Progress} ;-)


Looks a lot like PMBoK #5.