Leading in Best Practice and Standards

Leading in Best Practice and Standards

Best practices and standards are the keys to excellence in any organization. By adopting proven methods and adhering to established standards, you unlock efficiency, quality, and reliability. Embrace these tools to consistently outperform expectations and lead your field with confidence. They’re not just guidelines; they’re your pathway to success and industry leadership.

The Van Haren Group has been a leading player in the Best Practices and Standards learning industry for many years.

A “best practice” is a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark. It represents the most efficient and effective way of accomplishing a task, based on repeatable procedures that have proven themselves over time for large numbers of people. In the context of organizational management and operations, best practices are often used to improve efficiency, quality, and performance.

A “standard,” on the other hand, is a formal document that establishes uniform engineering or technical criteria, methods, processes, and practices.

It might be developed by a standards organization like the ISO, or by a company internally. Standards ensure that products, services, and systems are safe, reliable, and consistently perform as intended.

Benefits of Best Practices and Standards for Organizations:

Consistency and Quality Assurance:

By following best practices and standards, organizations can ensure a consistent level of quality in their products or services. This consistency can lead to a more reliable brand reputation and customer trust.

Efficiency and Productivity:

Best practices often streamline processes, reducing the time and resources required to complete tasks. This efficiency can lead to increased productivity and cost savings.

Risk Mitigation:

Standards often incorporate safety and compliance guidelines. Following these can reduce the risk of accidents, legal issues, and non-compliance with regulations.

Knowledge Sharing and Learning:

Best practices encourage the sharing of knowledge and expertise within an organization. This shared learning can lead to innovation and continuous improvement.

Competitive Advantage:

By adhering to industry standards and best practices, organizations can gain a competitive edge. They demonstrate to customers and partners that they are committed to excellence and continuous improvement.

Facilitating Global Trade:

Standards can break down barriers to international trade. By adhering to internationally recognized standards, organizations can more easily enter and compete in foreign markets.

Sustainability and Responsibility:

Many standards and best practices focus on environmental and social responsibility, helping organizations to operate sustainably and ethically.

Overall, best practices and standards serve as valuable tools for organizations to optimize operations, foster innovation, and maintain a competitive edge in the market.

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Standards by the Van Haren Group

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Van Haren Group Strategy

We aim to help others with the finest in best practice products and services.

We hope to help organizations achieve their goals by sharing our best practice ecosystem.

We enable organizations to conduct training and consultancy via our selection of certifications, accreditation, examination, courseware and publications.

For over 20 years we help grow the Best Practice and Standards education industry grow through our efforts, energy and network.

The various standards can be mapped in the following Domains

Products we create per Standard

The difference between a Best Practice, Model, Framework, Method or Standard.

Consistent terminology

Best Practice

A Best Practice is the way professionals perform their profession, aiming to accomplish a specific task. Best practice describes the methodology considered ‘the best’ based on the current situation and can be used by (future) professionals. The term ‘good practice’ is also used.


A model represents a schema, often in a simplified form, of an existing or future state or situation. The modeling technique determines how the situation is schematically represented. Commonly used modeling techniques include process models, workflow models, and life cycle models.


A method is a systematic approach to achieve a specific result or goal. It offers a coherent and (scientifically) consistent approach leading to the desired outcome. A method includes at least a thought process and a procedure. Additionally, a method may contain complementary components, such as management models, presentation models, supporting models (regulations, instructions, tips, examples, etc.), based on the modeling techniques described above. The meanings of ‘practice’ and ‘model’ are much broader than that of ‘method’.


A framework lies between a ‘model’ and a ‘method’. It is, or contains, a (not fully detailed) structure or system for achieving a specific goal/result. Many frameworks include one or more models, based on the aforementioned modeling techniques, and are often founded on (best) practices. Compared to a method, a framework gives users much more freedom regarding the (partial or complete) application of the framework and the use of the models or techniques it contains.

A body of knowledge (BOK or BoK)

A body of knowledge (BOK or BoK) is the complete set of concepts, terms, and activities that collectively encompass a professional domain, as interpreted by the relevant professional group or organization. A body of knowledge is the widely accepted set of standard terminology (also: ontology) for a specific domain. Generally, a BOK is more than just a glossary. It includes (among others): a literature list for professionals, a library, a website or a collection of websites; a description of professional roles; or even a collection of data.


International standardization organizations, such as ANSI, IEEE, ISO, etc., differentiate between a ‘guideline’ and a ‘standard’.

ISO definition: A standard (also called ‘norm’) is a document that provides a description of requirements, specifications, guidelines, or characteristics that can be consistently applied to ensure that materials, products, processes, etc., meet the requirements.

Definition of guideline:

Definition of guideline: a recommended practice application where there is some interpretative freedom or leeway in interpretation, implementation, or use. At ISO, a guideline is the first version of a document intended to become a standard. In most cases, the period between the publication of a guideline and its official status as a standard is five years.


The PMBOK Guide is structured as a Body of Knowledge and is both a framework and an (ANSI) standard; PRINCE2 is a method and has been labeled as a ‘de-facto standard’ by the British government. Formally, it is therefore not a standard. Within the agile family, there are clear differences: Scrum and SAFe are frameworks; RUP and DSDM/Atern are methods. The ISO guideline for project, program, and portfolio management (ISO21503:2017) may, in the near future, in an improved version, possibly attain the status of ‘standard’. The ICB and e-CF are competence frameworks. ‘Method’ versus ‘Methodology’ In many publications, the term ‘methodology’ is incorrectly applied where the term ‘method’ is intended. The correct definitions of ‘methodology’ are:

the systematic, theoretical analysis of methods in a certain field, or the theoretical analysis of the collection of methods and principles that belong to a field of knowledge. It includes concepts such as a paradigm, theoretical model, phases, and quantitative or qualitative techniques.
The design process to conduct research or development of a procedure; it is not itself a tool to carry out those things. The governance of models, frameworks, methods, and standards A significant number of models, frameworks, methods, and standards are managed by an implementation organization. These organizations regulate the IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) and are the central point for activities and products to support the subject, aimed at the target group(s). In some cases, a certification/examination program is offered.
Often, these organizations regularly develop a new, improved version. The websites of these organizations indicate what the latest version is and state the conditions for applying the model/method/framework. Usually, the latest version is the valid one.


Bon, Jan van (ed.), IT Service Management best practices, Volume 4, 2007 Van Haren Publishing, p. 351 et seq. ISO website: http://www.iso.org/iso/home/standards Bronsgeest, Wouter, et al., Wegwijzer voor evalueren van IT-projecten, 2013 Van Haren Publishing Moussault, Ariane, Fritjof Brave, Edwin Baardma