What is a Standard?

Building Success with PMI Standards

By ensuring that your project management knowledge and frameworks are up-to-date, PMI’s global standards are the foundation of the profession.

What is a Standard?

A standard is a document, established by consensus and approved by a recognized body, which provides for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context. Developed under a process based on the concepts of consensus, openness, due process, and balance, PMI standards provide guidelines for achieving specific project, program and portfolio management results.

How are Standards Developed?

Our standards are developed and approved under a consensus-based process that ensures all interested stakeholders can participate. PMI is an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited standards developer, and our process conforms with ANSI procedures.

Standards development follows six steps:

  1. A committee is chartered to develop a specific standard. This committee includes a chair, vice-chair and volunteers. A PMI staff member is also assigned as a resource.
  2. The committee meets over a period of several months to draft and refine the standard.
  3. The standards member advisory group (MAG) and a group of subject matter experts review the draft and return it to the committee for revision.
  4. The revised exposure draft is made available for public comment, which the committee considers and revises again.
  5. The finished standard is sent for approval to the PMI consensus body, a group of independent volunteer members responsible for validating the development process of each PMI standard.
  6. Upon recommendation by the PMI standards manager, the new standard is approved by the PMI president and CEO.


Research-Informed Standards: In addition to these six steps, we will also begin to incorporate research as part of the standards development process. This change, which will start with the upcoming new editions of our foundational standards, enhances the current consensus model, and will better help our current committees to make informed decisions and identify best practices.

Standards Member Advisory Group

The PMI Standards Program Member Advisory Group (MAG) advises the standards manager on strategic planning for the standards and related offerings. They also assist in the development, review and recommendation of current standards projects.

MAG Responsibilities:

  • Support the strategic vision of our standards program
  • Advocate for the profession and for PMI’s standards
  • Advise and support the PMI standards manager


Standards MAG members are selected by the PMI standards manager to serve up to five consecutive one-year terms. PMI membership is not required.

Download Standards MAG Charter