The intent of almost every good organization is to follow best practices, processes, and procedures that helps:

  • In achieving success on the project.
  • Gain customer satisfaction.
  • Improves quality.

While keeping the project with in the allocated constraints like Cost and Schedule, etc.

So every organization tend to choose any standards or processes based on the needs of their organization.

In general these processes or practices can be summarized into two broad categories:

  • Standard.
  • Methodology.


Standard VS Methodology


A general difference between Standard and Methodology could be:

  • Standard is the best practice that has been tested and implemented with in the industry.
  • Standard will guide you on the best practice followed with in that industry.

While on the other hand,

  • Methodology is normally a well designed framework or documented procedure.
  • Methodology will give you practical processes for getting the project done.


What is Methodology? :


Methodology can be referred to as:methodology

“A collection of methods, processes, and practices that are repeated over and over again”.
This means that the same practices are followed on almost every task, activity, or project .

As the name indicate; Methodology came from Method – Though, method and methodology are used interchangeably but their is a difference and require a separate blog post for an explanation.

e.g: A systematic process is an example of Methodology – A certain process or method is repeated to show there’s a certain mean of doing a project or something.

When we talk of project management methodologies in organizations or in any specific sector, e.g: IT, Telecom, Construction etc.
We can see that almost every good organization create their own custom built methodologies, which becomes a standard for that organization or an industry may be.


What is Standard? :


A standard is basically:standard

” A collection of knowledge areas which are considered good practices with in the industry”.
It can be a norm in an industry or a model or something that can be used as a measure.

In many key industries; A certain documents are made available for professional organizations to use it as a standard guidelines. e.g:

  • Programming Standards, in IT or Computing industry.
  • Engineering Standards, in Engineering, Construction and other similar industries.
  • Design Standards, in Fashion, Art, Design and other industries.

In the project management industry, we can see PMI, publishes the PMBOK, as project management standard, besides other project management publications.

Also, organizations tend to create their own standards for internal usage, and at times those standards are mandatory for their employees.


Can a Methodology be a Standard?


[box type=”note”]A standard can never be a methodology but a methodology can be adopted from a standard.[/box]
A methodology can be a standard for an organization. If, an organization adopts a certain methodology, it naturally becomes their standard.

Both the standard and methodology have their pros and cons but I won’t get into much details in this blog post specifically, and may be we do cover this topic in great detail in coming blog posts.


Is the PMBOK Guide a Standard?


We refer to the PMBOK guide as a standard, but in fact it’s a framework.pmbok as a standard

This may slightly contradict with my previous statement of calling the pmbok a standard, but it’s a fact.
If you have a previous version of pmbok5, you can see ANSI clearly written at the lower right.
On the new pmbok6, it can be seen at the bottom left, marked as:
INCLUDES: The Standard For Project Management ANSI/PMI 99-001-2017.

ANSI stands for American National Standards Institute, which is the standard authority of United States.
Though, PMI has put ANSI stamp on the guide but the entire guide is not a standard, only a small portion of the guide is a standard.



The simplest example that we can use for the difference between standard and methodology is:

  • PMBOK as a standard.
  • Prince2 as a methodology.



  1. Hi Amir,

    I liked the last sentence of this post.

    I am glad that you mentioned the difference between Standard and Methodology while comparing PMBOK and PRINCE2.


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