Project Management Institute

International standards for project management

Project Management Institute (PMI) participates in the activities of a number of international committees developing standards in the field of project management in order to support the success of these activities, in order to demonstrate PMI leadership in the profession and to promote the alignment of international standards with the project management approaches found in PMI standards. Participation in these activities also gives PMI an opportunity to learn from other participants, thus ensuring that PMI always represents the best in project management practices.

The most prominent of these activities is the International Organization for Standardization (ISO, Project Committee 236 (ISO/PC236), Project Management, which is developing the ISO standard 21500, Guide to Project Management. This document, currently at the Draft International Standard (DIS) stage, is expected to be completed by the committee and published by ISO as an International Standard in the fourth quarter of 2012. ISO 21500 is based in part on a contribution by PMI of Chapter 3 and the Glossary of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)—Third Edition. The ISO committee, composed of representatives from standards committees from over 35 countries, has further developed the contributed materials while retaining the original PMBOK® Guide approach; this is seen as a validation by the international community of the value and quality of the PMI standard.

As an ISO project committee, PC236 was chartered to develop a single work item, 21500. In order for interested nations to pursue the development of additional standards related to project management, another committee needed to be formed. The United States and United Kingdom jointly proposed the formation of a new ISO committee to pursue this additional work. The proposal was approved by ISO, and Technical Committee 258 (ISO/TC258), Project, Programme, and Portfolio Management was formed and met for the first time in June 2011. This new TC will pursue the development of multiple international standards in this field.

PMI supports these two international committees by acting as Secretariat on behalf of ANSI, the American National Standards Institute, and appointing PMI staff member, Karl Best, to act as Secretary of the two committees. PMI also hosts the U.S. Technical Advisory Group, which develops the U.S. position on the standards developed by the two committees and appointed PMI staff member, Quynh Woodward, to act as Secretary for the TAGs. PMI also participates in other related international standards at various levels, either to monitor the status and direction of the work or by actively participating and contributing in order to influence the direction of the work and help foster its success. These other international standards activities include: ISO/IEC JTC1/SC7 Software and Systems Engineering, which have developed work in the area of project management related to systems engineering; ISO TC176 Quality; ISO TC223 Societal Security; ISO PC250 Event Management; ISO PC262 Risk Management; and ISO WG Social Responsibility.

ISO standards activities are structured, such that it is the ISO member countries who are members of the technical committee and provide the input to the development of the standard. This ensures that global needs are met and all countries’ interests are addressed in the standard. An individual wishing to participate in the work does so by joining his or her country’s mirror committee, for example the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for PC236 or for TC258. The individual’s input is used to develop the country’s position or comment on the standard, and the individual may be selected to act as a delegate representing the country at the international committee’s meetings. Individuals wishing to participate in the activities of ISO/PC236 and/or ISO/TC258 on behalf of the United States should contact Quynh Woodward, the Secretary for the U.S. TAGs for these committees, at Individuals wishing to participate in other international committees or on behalf of other countries should contact their national standards body; a list of these organizations may be found on the ISO website at

Questions regarding PMI participation in international standards activities can be referred to Karl Best ( or to John Zlockie, PMI Standards Manager (

This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI or any listed author.

©2011 Karl Best, Rebecca Winston, John Zlockie
Originally published as part of proceedings PMI Global Congress 2011- Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX



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