The BS ISO 56002:2019 Innovation Management Standard

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4 years ago

In this piece we are looking at an ISO standard that has been in the works for some time. ISO/IEC ISO 56002:2019 is a new standard from the International Standards Organization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). It is the essence of a multitiered process that the electronics product development industry has descended to; a sequence of processes that is not always perceived to be truly innovative.

We are talking about the BS ISO 56002:2019 Innovation Management Standard, and the onus is on the development team to manage the innovation, prioritize the innovation, make the decision to adopt a new product, service or process, and get the product or service into the hands of the end users.

The new standard is intended for the management of projects, programs and business processes that result in new or enhanced business services and business products (i.e. not IT systems). The standard aims to help organizations to complete projects, programs and business processes faster and reduce their risk of failure.

The standard outlines 10 principles of effective innovation management that are delivered in the following 10 sections of the standard:

  1. Introduction, Purpose, and Scope
  2. Determining the Innovation Strength
  3. Developing and Selecting the Innovative Project
  4. Managing the Innovative Project
  5. Managing the Innovative Business Processes
  6. Approving the Regulatory Requirements
  7. Managing the Regulatory Requirements
  8. Managing the Innovative Services
  9. Controlling the Innovative Project, Processes, and Services
  10. Providing Information about the Innovative Project, Processes, and Services

ISO 56002 Innovation Management Principles

Basic innovation management principles are described in this section of the standard. Standard users include researchers and practitioners involved in innovation management, managers and leaders, project and program managers, and IT industry leaders and decision-makers.

Where we currently find ourselves is a scenario where we have methods for documenting, analyzing, defining, designing, developing, testing, and shipping new product ideas and new services into the market. All these methods are, in fact, covered by the ISO 56002 standard, which was approved in February 2019. Now organizations must make a conscious decision to adopt and implement this new standard.

Where Does ISO 56002 Fit With Agile and DevOps?

We currently are in a marketplace where many organizations, particularly in the area of software development, are adopting methods that are a departure from the old tried and true methods of managing projects that rely on analysis and the creation of process maps and detailed plans at the outset of a project. The agile approach says start small, run fast, get it in the hands of the users, measure and learn, iterate and repeat.

DevOps methodology says start small, get it in the hands of the users, iterate and repeat.

Guidelines for products and services that are available today tend to be based on processes, methods, checklists and various templates. While there is still a need for these guidelines and templates, the new standard is an aspirational standard that peels away from templates and checklists. It calls for leaders that have the courage and confidence to practice agile and DevOps approaches to product and service development.

We need an ISO 56002 approach to agile and DevOps process management.

Key Points in ISO 56002:2019

ISO 56002 outlines how to manage innovation within a compliant framework for the purpose of bringing the best and most innovative products and services to the marketplace. Providing ides, methodologies, techniques and templates is all very well, except that there are always new ideas to be considered and constant upward pressure to release the latest and greatest thing. Think about it. If you are in the innovation business or you are involved in the product development arena, you cannot help but see the strength of the current approach to innovation management. It has a dynamic quality to it. The very definition of standards says that they should be stable, unchanged over time, but this new standard is about innovation so variation is the order of the day.

Where ISO 56002 fits with DevOps and agile is that it says the traditional view of product development is now becoming anachronistic and the best and most effective product development teams are today created at the pace of innovation. The standard leaves formation of the development team and their structure to the individual organizations, but stresses that the teams should be agile and dynamic and aligned to the aims of the project. These products and services must be good, and there is a guilt factor appended to the process of developing and releasing innovative products. If it doesn’t live up to the standards set for it, it was a failure. That makes sense, doesn’t it?

A Lean Sigma Approach

Where the BS ISO 56002:2019 innovation management standard fits perfectly, and surprisingly I might add, is with the Lean Sigma approach to product development. Think about this, we still have to be good at what we do and be transparent about the processes that we are using. We still need to be adaptive and innovative, and we need to be capable of making the right decisions at the right time to the right commercial and technical effect, and we still have to deliver the best product and service that our resources can deliver. A Lean Sigma approach is essentially about performing at the utmost of our abilities, and the ISO 56002 standard offers us the framework for doing this.

The ISO 56002 innovation management standard is management standard, so there is a place for the industry standards TR-009, TR-016, and TR-315, Practicing Affirmatively [Defined, Systemic Throughput Improvement]: A Definitive Guide is a guide on applying Lean Six Sigma methodologies to whatever process it is that you are seeking to improve, and TR-170, Managing and Conducting a Project/Programme and TR-173, Managing IT Projects: Best Practice for Successful IT Projects and Programme.


A new standard for innovation management replaces the 2003 standard on innovation management. It is written in ISO EN/IEC Guide 61, Technical Guide for Information Technology Project Management. The standard was created by the Technical Committee ISO/IEC/JTC 1 SC7 and the Sub-Committee SC7/SC44 WG2.

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