My ten learnings


in the process of preparing, approving

and deploying International Standards

in project management



By Manuel Ancizu

Pamplona, Spain


The author shares ten valuable lessons learned connected to his experiences in the preparation, approval, and deployment to end-users of procedures, Norms, and international Standards in project management.


According to the Dictionary, a Norm is defined as an accepted Standard or a way of being or doing things and a Standard is defined as an official rule, unit of measurement, or way of operating that is used in a particular area of manufacturing or services.

International procedures, Norms and Standards are references for the dissemination of shared knowledge and the application of best practices in a field of action(1); they provide a framework to which to adhere, a common language and show an accurate, proven way of working. If we follow a Standard, we can be reasonably sure that what we do will be well done and that it will be equally understood in whatever scenario of application.

Examples may include building Standards, environmental Standards, health and safety Standards, food quality Standards, calibration of tools, Standards for accounting systems and financial statements, to mention just a few. But there are many more and, in fact, we can observe that our life is surrounded by Standards that make our day-to-day life easier.

The most robust Standards are clear, precise, easy to understand and serve as an illustrative model for their purpose; but unfortunately, some Standards are unclear, ambiguous, inadequately structured and might lead to misunderstandings in their interpretation.

Valuable learnings about the process

Based on my own experience in the preparation and review of Standards, I have extracted the following ten valuable lessons learned, which are detailed below:

  • In-depth knowledge of the topic covered

The Standard may be relevant to many people or sectors, so it is important to involve preparers and reviewers who are experts and have first-hand knowledge of the topic, in order to develop a Standard that really covers the whole spectrum of knowledge needed and it is useful to be applied on a day-to-day basis.

  • Abstraction skills

This is useful to turn ideas and recurrent practices into wisdom, to transform day-to-day activities into something written that can help others to perform better. It is not only knowing what needs to be done on a daily basis, but also knowing how to transform that knowledge and good practices into a written document that is self-explanatory and understandable by others.

  • Analysis of other published Standards

Lean on shared knowledge, templates and best practices available to ensure that the new Standard adds value to what is already published.


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How to cite this article: Ancizu, M. M. (2023). My ten learnings in the process of preparing, approving and deploying International Standards in project management, commentary, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue I, January. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/pmwj125-Jan2023-Ancizu-ten-learnings-in-preparing-international-standards.pdf

About the Author

Manuel Ancizu

Pamplona, Spain


Human leadership, Global Sustainable Projects, Renewable energy, Story-teller, Keynote speaker, Lifetime learner, Risk management, Standardization

Manuel Ancizu is passionate about human leadership, sustainable projects and people’s motivations. Enjoys working in international multicultural environments and wants to have a positive impact in society.

Manuel graduated in Economics from University of Navarra and obtained an MBA from IESE Business School (Spain); he has also studied in CEIBS (China) and University Anahuac del Sur (Mexico). He holds a number of professional certificates such as the PMP by Project Management Institute, Lead Auditor in ISO 9001:2015 by IRCA Association and has also received training in Management of Development Projects and Risk Management by Interamerican Development Bank (IDB).

Manuel has lived in Spain, France, UK and Mexico; he currently works in the wind energy sector leading the quality management of Offshore projects. Manuel has been involved in wind energy renewable projects developed in different parts of the globe with external customers, as well as in internal projects of cultural transformation, IT and global processes.

Thanks to his experience, he has delivered training sessions, lectures and keynotes to a different number of institutions.

Manuel is a qualified member of the Spanish Standardization Body (UNE) and has been involved in the development of Standards and Norms in Projects, Programs and Portfolios; he has also participated in the translation of different ISO 21500 to Spanish language.

Manuel loves smiling, storytelling, dreaming and making ideas come true in a sustainable manner.

Manuel lives in Pamplona, Spain and can be contacted at manuel@manuelancizu.com

To view other works by Manuel Ancizu, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/manuel-ancizu-beramendi/