Book review: ISO 21500 in Practice

iso21500I received from Van Haren Publishing the book ISO 21500 in Practice – A management guide.

The book is a revision of the Dutch publication and offers a bit more information than the original Dutch version.

This book gives you background and explains the process that led to the creation of this standard. It briefly summarized the ISO 21500 structure and content.

It emphasizes the value of ISO 21500 looking at specific roles in the organization and its project environment and it positions this standard within the overall landscape of ISO standards and project management techniques, models and best practices.

Two chapters will help you to implement ISO 21500 in your organization and to apply it to your projects.

The last chapters give insight in the expected future developments of the ISO standards in the domain of project, program and portfolio management and the impact on other standards and guides on project management. You get answers on many questions that the authors themselves had wondered about in relation to the ISO 21500 and in the annexes you can find information about the ISO organization.

In my opinion this book will help you to understand the ISO 21500 and it’s position. It’s a first step towards an overarching standard for the management of projects. ISO 21500 has been written as a guideline and it has not been specifically designed for, nor is it suitable for certification purposes. It explains what should be done and not how things should be done (“ISO 21500 is a global common reference framework for project management within which everyone is entitled to use his own method or approach” – page 36).

For me this opens the discussion if you can implement ISO 21500 or that you have to implement a standard, which is compliant with ISO 21500? Look at the case the authors describe to apply ISO 21500 to projects. Best practices are lacking and have to be taken from the PMBoK and PRINCE2. Maybe the next version of ISO 21500 will have a more prescriptive character and hopefully Axelos (owner of PRINCE2) is involved and Agile project management principles are incorporated too.

For an in depth overview of ISO 21500 structure you have to read the official ISO publication. You could also have a look at my quick reference card. See: ISO 21500 QRC or have a look at the official ISO website:
Bestellen:ISO 21500 in Practice

One response to “Book review: ISO 21500 in Practice

  1. What do you think is the value of ISO 21500 in the project management discipline? From my point of view, zero because its contributions is zero. When you read ISO 21500 discover that is too similar to PMBOK and, as you say, PRINCE2 o Agile have not considered.

    Write about how you can implement ISO 21500 in a organization is a incredible effort of imagination or a very easy thing because nothing is mandatory and, as you say, there aren’t recommendations about the way of follow each process.

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