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ISO Expands Work in Five Areas

From human resources to outsourcing

Published: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 13:39

(ISO: Geneva) -- With already a wide-ranging portfolio of more than 18,600 international standards covering everything from screw sizes to social responsibility, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) continues to diversify its scope with the recent addition and expansion of five work areas for standards development. These are:
• Project, program, and portfolio management
• Outsourcing
• Human resources management
• Additive manufacturing
• Risk management

Project, program, and portfolio management

ISO had originally established a project committee to develop a single standard on project management (ISO/PC 236). However, recognizing that the discipline of project management is much broader than what a single standard can encompass, it was decided that a new technical committee would be created to develop additional standards in this area. The new ISO/TC 258—“Project, program, and portfolio management,” will address aspects that are not covered in the standard currently in development by ISO/PC 236 (ISO 21500), but that are considered essential and urgently needed in many countries.

The first meeting will take place June 27–29, 2011, in Washington. Currently, 34 countries are involved. The committee’s secretariat and chair are held by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)—an ISO member for the United States, and the British Standards Institution (BSI)—an ISO member for the United Kingdom, respectively.


Due to the multiplicity of existing documents on outsourcing, and the lack of a common vocabulary for the industry on which to base their communications, ISO established a new project committee: ISO/PC 259, Outsourcing.

ISO/PC 259 will develop a standard to provide overarching guidance and terminology, enabling practitioners to harmonize principles, procedures, and vocabulary in existing and future standards. It will also improve understanding of all parties involved in outsourcing by providing a common set of practices for managing the outsourcing life cycle. It will promote interoperability and coherence, contribute to removing technical barriers to trade, and reduce transaction costs for outsourcing.

The committee will meet June 16–17 2011, in Sofia, Bulgaria. The secretariat and chair are held by the Netherlands Standardization Institute (NEN)—an ISO member for the Netherlands, and BSI, respectively. Some 14 countries are involved.

Human resource management

More and more organizations cut across borders, and the work force is increasingly mobile and global. In this context, tasks such as talent management, finding and retaining quality talent, promoting a global work force culture, and managing global mobility of high-value workers become more difficult. Harmonizing human resource (HR) management is crucial for ensuring efficiency. In addition, studies have shown that consumers are basing their purchasing choices on a company’s humane treatment of its work force around the world. Harmonizing HR management is crucial for ensuring efficiency.

A new ISO committee, ISO/TC 260, Human resource management, will develop standards for HR management, including guidelines, processes, policies, practices, services. It will promote reliable and transferable approaches to work force management in developed and emerging economies for the overall benefit for organizations and their employees. The standards will help organizations adapt to, and exploit demographic shifts that influence their access to workers.

It will reduce the barriers to exchange (trade) of talent across regions by harmonizing the processes to physically move talent and the assessments of their competence (i.e., skills, knowledge, abilities, and results).

Some 25 countries are currently involved. The secretariat of the committee is held by ANSI.

Additive manufacturing

Additive manufacturing (AM) is an inherent part of the product development process. These additives are used to manufacture prototypes, tools, and production parts. In comparison to conventional methods where parts are molded into specified forms or cut from a massive block, AM is based on the principle that liquids, powders, and films are layered to build 3-D structures without the use of a mold.

In the past, AM used in the development, modification, and use of mold-free production processes has been quite unsystematic. One of the main reasons is  the unavailability of international standards. These are urgently necessary to promote a widespread use of the process and to regulate evaluation of existing products.

A new ISO technical committee, ISO/TC 261, Additive manufacturing, will develop the much-needed standards for development and market penetration of the industry.

The first meeting will be held July 26–27, 2011, in Berlin. The secretariat of the committee is held by the Deutsches Institut für Normung e.V. (DIN), the German Institute for Standardization—the ISO member for Germany. Some 17 countries are taking part in this work.

Risk management

In the wake of devastating natural disasters that have taken the world by surprise, people are looking for tools that can help minimize the disastrous impact of these events.

In 2009, a comprehensive risk management toolbox was developed by an ISO working group. Toolbox elements included:
• ISO 31000—“Risk management—Principles and guidelines”
• ISO Guide 73—“Risk management vocabulary”
• ISO/IEC 31010—“Risk management—Risk assessment techniques”


Now, ISO has created a new project committee, ISO/PC 262, Risk management, to promote this work by developing a document that offers further guidance for implementing these standards.

The new document will address:
• Implementing a risk-management framework and process
• Risk management strategy
• Developing a risk-management culture
• Building capability and competence
• Treating and managing the identified risks
• Governance
• Improving an organization’s performance of its risk management
• Maximizing opportunities and minimizing losses in the organization


The document will be applicable to all organizations of all sizes and will be written using plain expressions and terminology for ease of application.

Currently some 30 countries are involved. The secretariat and chair are held by BSI and South Australia (SA), respectively. The first meeting will take place Sept. 12–16, 2011.


About The Author

ISO’s picture


The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the world’s largest developer and publisher of international standards. ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 162 countries, one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system. ISO is a nongovernmental organization that forms a bridge between the public and private sectors. ISO enables a consensus to be reached on solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society. View the ISO Standards list.