IPMA International Project Management Association
31 October 2016 / 9:49

International standard of governance ready for publication

During last week´s meeting in Athens the ISO/TC258  approved ISO 21505 “Project, programme and portfolio management – Guidance on governance” to be ready for publication. This is another important milestone for the transnational harmonization of standards in the field of project, programme and portfolio management. During the inaugural meeting in Washington (DC) of the TC in 2011 it was acknowledged by most of the participants, that after the launch of ISO 21500 “Guidance on project management” the Technical Committee should rather focus on generic concepts for programme and portfolio management as well as Governance than detailing the processes of project management. Thus, three projects were started in these domains. The portfolio management standard ISO 21504 was published last year. The two other topics needed further research, thus study groups for Governance and Programme Management were initiated in 2012, respectively 2013.

ISO 21505 is intended for governing bodies and executive and senior management who influence, impact or make decisions regarding the governance of projects, programmes and portfolios. It is also intended to provide guidance to those who direct projects, programmes and projects, such as sponsors, steering committees, portfolio owners and the project management office. Governance is defined as principles, policies and the framework by which an organization is directed and controlled. It aspires to achieve improved accountability and transparency, reduced organizational risk and clarity regarding values, ethics, and guiding principles. The document provides the basics on governance of projects, programmes and portfolios, for each domain a chapter highlights the governing bodies, guidelines and a potential framework. An informative annex elaborates on implementation, continuous improvement and sustainment of the governance framework. The bibliography of ISO 21505 points to ISO 21500 and 21504 as well as relevant governance standards, e.g. ISO 38500 “Information Technology: Governance of IT for the organization” and the OECD Principles of Corporate Governance.

It will be interesting to see, how many of the 40 countries engaged in ISO/TC258 will adopt ISO 21505 as national standard or refer to it in other standards. IPMA already refers to ISO 21500 and 21504 in its IPMA Individual Competence Baseline (IPMA ICB®) and IPMA Organisational Competence Baseline (IPMA OCB®). Future updates of these standards will link them also to ISO 21505. IPMA may in future also develop a competence standard for individuals engaged in the governance of projects, programmes and portfolios.

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Reinhard Wagner

Author of this post

Reinhard Wagner has been active for more than 30 years in the field of project- related leadership, in such diverse sectors as Air Defense, Automotive Engineering, and Machinery, as well as various not-for-profit organizations. As a Certified Projects Director (IPMA Level A), he has proven experience in managing projects, programmes and project portfolios in complex and dynamic contexts. He is also an IPMA Certified Programme and Portfolio Management Consultant, and as such supports senior executives in developing and improving their organizational competence in managing projects. For more than 15 years, he has been actively involved in the development of project, programme and portfolio management standards, for example as Convenor of the ISO 21500 “Guidance on Project Management” and the ISO 21503 “Guidance on Programme Management”. Reinhard Wagner is Past President of IPMA and Chairman of the Council, Honorary Chairman of GPM (the German Project Management Association), as well as Managing Director of Tiba Managementberatung GmbH.