From human resources to outsourcing ISO expands work in five areas

Issue 28 – June 2011

With already a wide-ranging portfolio of international Standards covering almost everything from screw sizes to social responsibility, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) continues to diversify with the recent addition and expansion of five work areas for Standards development. These are:

  • project, programme and portfolio management
  • outsourcing
  • human resources management
  • additive manufacturing
  • risk management.

Project, programme, and portfolio management

ISO originally established a project committee to develop a single Standard on project management (ISO/PC 236). However, recognising that the discipline of project management is much broader than what a single Standard can encompass, a new technical committee was created to develop additional Standards in this area. The new ISO/TC 258 'Project, programme, and portfolio management' committee will address aspects that are not covered in the Standard currently in development by ISO/PC 236 (ISO 21500), but which are considered essential and urgently needed in many countries.

The first meeting will take place on 27 – 29 June 2011 in the USA. Currently, 34 countries are involved. The Secretariat and Chair of the committee are held by ANSI (ISO member for the USA) and BSI (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 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 harmonise principles, procedures, and vocabulary in existing and future Standards. This Standard 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 on 16 –17 June 2010 in Bulgaria. The Secretariat and Chair are held by NEN (ISO member for the Netherlands), and BSI, respectively. Some 14 countries are involved.

Human resource management

More and more organisations cut across borders and the workforce is increasingly mobile and global. In this context, tasks such as talent management, finding and retaining quality talent, promoting a global workforce culture, and managing global mobility of high-value workers become more difficult. Harmonising human resource (HR) management is crucial to ensure efficiency. In addition, studies have shown that consumers are basing their purchasing choices on a company's humane treatment of its workforce around the world. Harmonising 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, and services). It will promote reliable and transferable approaches to workforce management in developed and emerging economies for the overall benefit or organisations and their employees. The Standards will help organisations adapt to and exploit demographic shifts that influence their access to workers. This will help to reduce the barriers to exchange (trade) of talent across regions by harmonising the processes to physically move talent and the assessments of their competence (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 moulded into specified forms or cut from a massive block, AM bases on the principle that liquids, powders, stands, and films are layered to build 3D-structures without the use of a mould.

In the past, development, modification, and use of mould-free production processes (AM) has been unsystematic. One of the main reasons is the lack of availability 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 on 26 – 27 July 2011 in Germany. The Secretariat of the committee is held by DIN, the ISO member for Germany. Some 17 countries are involved.

Risk management

In the wake of devastating natural disasters that have taken the world by surprise, people are looking for tools that can help minimise the disastrous impact of these events. In 2009, a comprehensive risk management toolbox was developed by an ISO working group including:

  • ISO 31000:2009 Risk management – Principles and guidelines
  • ISO Guide 73:2009 Risk management vocabulary
  • ISO/IEC 31010:2009 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 offering further guidance for the implementation of these Standards. The new document will address:

  • implementing 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 organisation's performance of its risk management
  • maximising opportunities and minimising losses in the organisation.

The document will apply to all organisations of all sizes using plain expressions and terminology for ease of application. The first meeting will take place on 12  16 September 2011. Some 30 countries are involved. The Secretariat and Chair are held by BSI and SA (Australia) respectively.

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