Reduce the Risk of Project Failure with ISO 21500 Project Management

Article written by: Nico Snyman
Published: Tue, 9 Jul, 2019
Edited: Mon, 14 Mar, 2022

Project management is an inseparable part of organizations in today’s fast-changing global economy. Its practices began a century ago, but it became an essential factor of successful organizations only in the past few decades. Managing projects efficiently is crucial for organizations that want to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals and objectives.

According to ISO 21500, “project management is the application of methods, tools, techniques and competencies to a project.” Companies worldwide are becoming more aware of the importance of investing time, money and resources in projects. This attention came as a result of the effective implementation of project management tools and techniques which led to the success of organizations across different sectors.

Project management success is only possible when skilled and knowledgeable professionals are part of the team. The competitive business environment has shifted the perception of a job, and it has made project management a must skill. Whether you are in the automotive, pharmaceutical, information technology, oil or food industry, having such skills will increase your career potential. In addition, these are skills that employees can transfer from one industry to another and still achieve success.

Employees who possess project management skills are a valuable asset to their organization. Training the team involved in projects is essential in avoiding the risks of project failure. Providing training for your employees will only make your organization more successful. According to point 13 of Deming’s 14 management principles, it is important to “institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.”

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has created ISO 21500 standard which is a guideline that provides the essential concepts and processes that are considered most effective in project management. The project management standard can be used by all types of organizations, and for all types of projects regardless of their length, complexity or size.

ISO 21500 has been drafted in accordance with PMBOK’s principles of project management, as Project Management Institute (PMI) had a leading role during the drafting process of the standard. This standard serves as a guideline to project management and aims at helping organizations implement projects successfully. According to ISO 21500, “a project consists of a unique set of processes consisting of coordinated and controlled activities with start and end dates, performed to achieve project objectives.”

There are a set of processes that need to be followed which according to ISO 21500 reduce the risks of project failure. First, the project team needs to select the processes required to meet the project objectives, and then develop a plan to meet those objectives. In addition, the project should comply with internal and external requirements while reducing potential risks that could affect the project. It is also important for the project management team to have the support of the organization to perform their tasks more effectively.

The sequence of processes that can be followed to deliver projects includes initiating, planning, implementing, controlling, and closing. Implementing these steps with success leads to significant benefits, including the following:

  • Better planning leading to completion of project of time and within budget
  • Better understanding of team roles leading to improved productivity
  • Enables the transfer of knowledge throughout the organization for successful project implementation
  • Better allocation of resources
  • Reduces the risk of project failure and costs associated to it
  • Facilitates the documentation process
  • Makes the organization more effective and efficient while increasing quality

Project management is highly important for organizations worldwide. According to the Anderson Economic Group study, the number of employees involved in project management in different industries will reach 32.6 million. This clearly indicates that the need for qualified professionals in project management will keep increasing. ISO 21500 training and certification reduce the risk of project failure because certified professionals can overcome obstacles and achieve the project objectives.

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