This paper develops a proposal for the combination of the Standard ISO 21500 Guidance on Project Management and the Project & Construction Management Systems, with emphasis in their integration with the PMBOK and the Lean Construction philosophy. The Project & Construction Management is studied from a global point of view, connecting, matching, supplementing, and/or combining the tools, techniques, and practices of the afore-mentioned management systems, applied to construction projects. Within this framework, the stakeholder participation is analyzed during the application of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and Target Value Design (TVD); as well as the sequences in which the processes, inputs, and outputs relate in time, originating variants in the effort for the achievement of optimum compatibility.
Since the beginnings of the Lean Construction philosophy, much has been written about its compatibility with traditional management systems. Some authors state that there are philosophical differences between them, while others affirm that they are compatible. What all systems have in common is that they apply continuous improvement or the quality circle and, therefore, they are all compatible with ISO standards, especially with the ISO 9000 quality standard; this shows that no ISO standard brought them all together. “ISO 21500 Guidance on Project Management provides guidance for project management and can be used by any type of organization, including public, private or community organizations, and for any type of project, irrespective of complexity, size or duration.” . It could be said that the ISO 21500 was created as an answer to the growing globalization of the projects, and the need to establish common principles and make them compatible with the most applied standards and management systems in the world. Likewise, their application to any organization or project is sought.
2. ISO 21500 Guidance on Project Management, PMBOK and PRINCE2
2.1. ISO 21500
“This International Standard provides high-level description of concepts and processes that are considered to form good practice in project management. Projects are placed in the context of programmes and Project portfolios, however, this International Standard does not provide detailed guidance on the management of programmes and project portfolios. Topics pertaining to general management are addressed only within the context of project management. Figure 1 shows how project management concepts relate to each other. The organizational strategy identifies opportunities. The opportunities are evaluated and should be documented. Selected opportunities are further developed in a business case or other similar document, and can result in one or more projects that provide deliverables. Those deliverables can be used to realize benefits. The benefits can be an input to realizing and further developing the organizational strategy.” .
Besides, strategic goals may guide the identification and development of opportunities. Selection includes consideration of various factors, such as how benefits can be realized and risks can be managed, among others. The project stakeholders should be described in sufficient detail for the project to be successful; and the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders should be defined and communicated based on the organization and project goals.
2.2. Compatibility of the ISO 21500, PMBOK and PRINCE2
The ISO 21500 points out that project management processes do not specify a chronological order to carry out the activities . Processes may be combined and arranged in sequences according to what the management system has anticipated. This is very important when some of the processes involved interact and change their traditional order, as well as their cost and design, for example.
On the other hand, the ISO 215000 wisely eliminates the processes’ tools and techniques, leaving the way open for specialists to combine and apply the tools and techniques that best suit the project, selecting them among the various management systems. This is especially useful in construction projects. When a specialist uses a system that has a guidebook or manual which recommends or suggests specific tools and techniques for processes, a barrier may be created to use one that is better than others; thus, the perspective of the great variety of innovating tools and techniques that exist —which are increasingly being generated worldwide— may be lost. Moreover, the ISO 21500 does not describe the processes’ inputs and outputs, and does not mention the stages of a project; this increases the capacity to self-adapt to any management system, including those used in construction projects. This flexibility in input, output, stages, tools, and techniques would allow the incorporation of other additional elements to those commonly used in the conversion of conventional processes.
It can be stated that PRINCE2 and PMBOK do not compete with each other; both methodologies are compatible if used appropriately. PMBOK is a methodology that shows all the information required from the point of view of its authors, such as the tools and techniques, and the sequence used for process execution . PRINCE2, on the other hand, provides guidelines about how to use such information . The ISO 21500 perfectly harmonizes this compatibility.
All projects require a business justification which, based on ISO 21500, PRINCE2 or PMBOK, will be documented in the Business Case, explaining the reasons why the project should be started, the existing business options, expected costs, risks (threats and opportunities), benefits, possible wastes, terms, and projected investment, among others. The purpose of a Business Case is to justify the expenses of the project by identifying the benefits. In order to do this, one must pinpoint the business problem and its alternative solutions, recommend the best solution, and describe the implementation approach.
PRINCE2 recommends the creation of a preliminary Business Case, which collects all the data available to be used as reference to start the analysis of a project. It will be later replaced by the final one, which will be updated throughout the life cycle of the project.
According to PMBOK, the Business Case is an external document prepared beforehand; it forms part of the input data required to set up the Project Charter. It is not necessary for the sponsor and the future manager of the project to participate in its preparation.