ISO 21500:2012 - Guidance On Project Management

A “project”, in an organizational term, consists of a unique set of processes consisting of coordinated and controlled activities with start and end dates, performed to achieve project objectives. In order to achieve the main objectives of the project,it requires the provision of deliverables conforming to specific requirements of the devised project which may be subjected to one or multiple constraints.Project management is the application of methods, tools, techniques and competencies to a project which includes the effective integration of various phases of the project life cycle and is achieved through defined set of processes.

An effective project management provides a framework to an organisation that helps it to accomplish business goals which is a driving force behind any task. In brief, projectmanagement is considered as a discipline specified with the purpose to achieve specific goals and objectives through effective planning, organizing, motivating and controlling resources. Project management is recognized as an efficient tool to handle complex activities.Therefore, it is highly essential to gain a substantial amount of knowledge on the essential concepts and processes of effective project management to obtain a better understanding of key principles to support management and establish a common basis on which to compare project standards and practices with those of others.


ISO 21500 is an international standard issued in 2012 by ISO (International Organization for Standardization) which provides high-level description of concepts and processes that are considered to form good practice in project management.ISO 21500 describes a structured set of concepts and processes that are considered to form good practice in project management that can be used by any type of organizaton and is applicable for all projects – large, small, simple or complex.A guide comprehends a straightforward introduction and also explains the practical application on how to deliver projects successfully and ensure a sustainable future. ISO 21500 is a professional methodology which combines project management best practices and conveys them collectively.

It is the first standard in a planned family of project management standards, designed to align with related International Standards,

such as:

  • ISO 10006:2003, Quality Management Systems-Guidelines for quality management in projects,
  • ISO 10007:2003, Quality Management Systems - Guidelines for configuration management,
  • ISO 31000:2018, Risk Management – Principles and guidelines and some sector-specific standards in industries such as aerospace and IT

The ISO 21500 can be used as a basis for the development of national standards. The ISO 21500 – Guidance on project management, has been unanimously approved by 33 countries in an international ballot of participating national standards authorities. The ISO 21500:2012 allows you to:

The target audience for this International Standard are senior managers and project sponsors, project managers, project management teams and project team members, and developers of national or organizational standards who will develop a set of core project management standards which are consistent with those of others.


The globally recognized certification is dedicated to guidance on project management, which is based on PMBOK framework. ISO 21500/2012 focuses on project management, processes and management areas, and coincides with such bodies of knowledge as PMBOK which is useful for companies those who wish to standardize and improve their project management. Also,ISO Standards 10006 and 21500 relate to international knowledge, such as PMBOK, PRINCE2 and ICB3.0 on project management as they are not subject to certification but have been included in knowledge standards that are subject to certification, such as ISO 9001/2008.

The main is that ISO 21500 does not provide a description of tools and techniquesas in ISO 9001. Rather, it provides description of each process in ISO 21500 which consists of a general description and a table containing primary inputs and primary outputs. Also, some processes are grouped together in one process and some aspects are described in the ISO 21500 as a separate processeslike its in the PMBOK.

The ISO 21500 covers the prominent five stages of the project lifecycle which are:

The ISO 21500 guideline identifies 39 processes that fall into five basic process groups, mentioned above and ten subject groups that cover most aspects needed to manage a project. The subject groups are:

The structure of ISO 21500 can be categorized into four clauses and they are dedicated to particular content. They are divided categorized as,

Clause 1: Covers the scope of ISO 21500, i.e. the management of projects in ‘most organizations most of the time’.

Clause 2: Contains 16 project management terms and their definitions.

Clause 3: Describes the concepts which play an important role during the execution of most projects which are:

  • Project;
  • Project management;
  • Organizational strategy and projects;
  • Project environment;
  • Project governance;
  • Projects and operations;
  • Stakeholders and project organization;
  • Competences of project personnel;
  • Project life cycle;
  • Project constraints;
  • Relationship between project management concepts and processes.

Clause 4: Identifies the recommended project management processes that should be applied across the whole project and/or to project phases.

These processes are generic and can be used by any project in any organization or entity where the applicable processes are selected and the sequence in which they are carried out will be defined. This sequence however, will solely depend on the project at hand and the needs of the organization or entity.


In order to achieve the key objectives of a project, every project team requires competent individuals who are capable of applying their knowledge and experience. Any identified gap between the available and required competence levels on a project team can introduce risk and should therefore be addressed.Therefore, guidance on project management which offers high-level descriptions of theories and procedures that shape good practice model towards en effective project management is warranted. Ensuring minimal or no disruptions to the other projects, the ISO 21500 will guide you towards significant project improvements by enabling the project to be completed within the business constraints.

With the aim of evading the possibilities of any failure to the project, the standard will enable the organization to fulfill every requirements of the project management without a delay. With ISO 21500 certification, it will certainly help you to sufficiently plan, manage and monitor the progress of a project, at the same time, equips you with the fundamental skills to properly allocate the time needed to accomplish the tasks, achieving targets. Some of the major benefits of ISO 21500 certification are:

  • Encouragement around the transfer of knowledge between projects and organizations for improved project delivery
  • The facilitation of efficient tendering processes through the use of consistent project management terminology
  • Master project management skills thereby, improving project delivery
  • Providing a shared project management processes and principles
  • Transparent and improved decision-making
  • Promoting the flexibility of project management employees and enhancing their ability to work on international projects
  • Providing universal project management principles and processes

TRAIBCERT certification proves that you possess the necessary skills to lead a project and manage a team effectively. It will enable you to be more confident and competent to define the proper resources needed to deliver projects on time and on budget.


Preliminary audit (optional):

TRAIBCERT’s experienced and highly-skilled auditors would listen to you and perform an initial assessment to understand audit issues and maximize your chances of being certified.The audit focuses mainly on the areas of the system that needs further improvements inline with the standard’s requirements, in order to achieve the business objectives. Once identifying and eradicating potential vulnerabilities in the management system, the actual audit in relation to the certification begins.

Certification audit:

This phase is comprised of a stage 1 and stage 2 audit consists of detailed review where, TRAIBCERT’s auditors with expertise and vast knowledge on the industry sectors, assess your documentation, interviews your teams, analyzes your practices, your data against the requirements of the standard inview of fulfilling the requirements. We strive to reveal observations that can add value through reduced costs, increased efficiency, and decreased time to market.

Issue Certificate:

Once our highly competent & qualified auditors who are experts in the sector, identifies that yousatisfy the requirements of ISO 21500, we TRAIBCERT a leading accredited certification body will Issue the ISO 21500 certificate.


Annual surveillance of the ongoing optimization of your processes and management system would be carried out to ensure adherence of the system with that of the ISO standards.


Upon reaching 3 years from the date of issuance of certificate, the maximum validity of the certificate, we will provide full support to your organization towards the re-certification for the next term.


The ISO 21500:2012, Guidance on Project Management, can be used by any organization, including public, private or community based organizations, and for any type of project, irrespective of complexity, size and duration. This certification serves a high-level description of concepts and processes, which is required to form good practice in project management. Some of the key benefits of ISO 21500 are that, it enables the organizations to:

  • Effectively manage communications at all levels of the management
  • Ensuring the availability of necessary information for the project participants;
  • Provide and distribute the obtaining information from suppliers for the serial comparative evaluation of the proposals and declared requirements;
  • Provide correct planning and documenting of the strategy to implement quality control of higher order
  • Determine the established objectives of the project, requirements to the quality thereby minimizing project violations
  • Develop options to identify measures of expansion of the opportunities and reduction of the threats for the purposes of the project.
  • Effective risk assessment and priority definition for further action;
  • Monitor deviations of cost and adoption of appropriate measures;
  • Distribute budget of the project to the relevant levels of the hierarchical structure of the works;
  • Identify approximate representation over project costs that necessary for completion of each operation and the project in general;
  • Calculate start time and completion of works on the project and establish general basic schedule of the project:
  • Identify the sequence of the works and optimize consistently to improve the team performance
  • Better management of the resources and transfer necessary information for implementation of project works;
  • Provide fullest implementation necessary obligations of the all parties involved into the project;
  • Effective management of the project content: detect, identify and document all operations that should be planned and implemented in order to achieve the project objectives;
  • To create hierarchical structure of works and control all changes in the project


At TRAIBCERT, an independent third party certifying body, we believe that project management will plays an increasingly more prominent role involved in product developmentwhere talk of “project capturing” is becoming more and more common. For this reason, we believe that to be certified according to the ISO 21500 is a value for our customers: we use common concepts and vocabulary, as well as a common frame of reference, based on best practices in the industry, whatever their source is.

At TRAIBCERT, our main objective towards ISO 21500 is to verify professional skills and competence against the criteria set by ISO 21500 and identifies its suitability for those involved in project management.We are clear as to where the refuse management knowledge has to be implemented in order to identify a mass change to the organisations. Keeping this in mind we have defined aarticular set of audience to be enthralled when it comes to ISO ISO 21500. They are

  • Project sponsors and Executive management, for understanding of the basic principles of project management to provide better support and direction to projects;
  • Project managers, project management teams and project team members, for having common language and structure when using different diverse PM methods, tools and techniques;
  • Developers of standards and methods, for the development of PM standards and methods which are consistent at a core level

Want to be a better project manager and ensure higher project success rates? We at TRAIBCERT encourage you to become one and achieve business goals by getting you familiar with ISO 21500 main concepts, processes and best practices. With TRAIBCERT as your partner for ISO 21500 you will be able to:

  • Optimize the distribution of your resources (labor, materials, etc.)
  • Constantly maintain a balance between 3 requirements: project cost, quality of the result, and time.
  • Establish a calm working atmosphere, encouraging team involvement
  • Control your risks: anticipate potential problems upstream and resolve them before they occur
  • Manage more effectively the expectations of your customers and
  • Establish better communicate with your project team to avoid conflicts and the potential stoppage of a project

Contact us to get to know more about Project Management through TRAIBCERT's excellent and unique string of ISO 21500 training courses which cover useful practices and guidelines allowing you to become a better project manager.

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