In the field of project management standards, BS 6079, the British standards document on the ‘Principles and guidance for the management’ (which has been around for many years) tends to be dwarfed by the Axelos PRINCE2 collection of standards and bodies of knowledge like those of APM and PMI. BSI, the British standards body tends in the case of project management to work through the international body ISO. BS 6079 is the exception and aspires to present a more detailed practical application of principles outlined in the ISO standards. A new version of the standard had just been released for public comment, and we urge you to examine it and give us your comments on it.
The development group had a large input from APM, as might be expected from the UK’s leading project management professional body. The result is, unsurprisingly, aligned to PRINCE2 and the new UK government’s Project Delivery Functional Standard.
BS 6079 aims, like PRINCE2, to be a generic standard. As far as IT and software projects are concerned there are other ISO project management guidelines that have been devised specifically for software and systems engineering projects – for example, ISO 24748 on systems and software life-cycle management. There is an argument that these may be more useful to the BCS practitioner community.
If a standard is designed to be generic then there is risk that its dealing with technological issues will be weak. While organisational and social outcomes of projects are paramount, the crux of many projects depends on meeting technological and other practical challenges. It could be argued that BS 6079 tends to delegate these struggles to work packages that can be treated as ‘black boxes’. The possibility is that BS 6079 and Axelos type standards become presentational and political management layers, concealing the real management tasks below.
Examine the standard, make up your own mind and let us know what you think.
Full standard available to download here