This project management handbook is intended for anyone who is involved in or will be involved in projects that take place within or are conducted in association with DANS. The text, however, has been prepared in such a way that it can be used by other organisations, particularly those in the non-profit sector, that use project-based working methods.

The book is comprised of several sections. The first section (Chapters 1 through 4) provides an overview of project management. These chapters address the theory of the waterfall method, which is applicable to most projects. The second section of this book (beginning with Chapter 5), addresses cyclical forms of project management, which are more appropriate to IT-related projects. These methods are particularly well suited for software development and other creative IT projects. The penultimate chapter addresses the working methods of DANS. This method is a combination of elements from both the waterfall and the cyclical methods. The last chapter of this handbook discusses how organisations can manage the dynamics of carrying out several projects at once. The most important difficulties are addressed, along with strategies for dealing with these problems.

‘This document includes a number of standard documents that can be used for directing projects, as well as a number of references to open-source project instruments developed by third parties. A literature list is included at the end of this book for those who wish to delve more deeply into the broad field of project management.

Important message of the Author

In this book about project management a lot of the examples are ICT related. The reason for this is that the original client of the Book (Data Archiving and Networked Services) is an ICT organization. However, the project management courses that offers cover a much wider area of project management than ICT project alone. Please click here to download the book on project management in .doc or .pdf format.


Anyone who has ever worked on a project will agree that making a project succeed is no simple task. The difficulties manifest themselves in (extreme) delays, (extreme) budget over-runs, inadequate results, dissatisfied customers, high stress among the project team and other undesirable outcomes. What is the cause of all of these problems?

Projects are characterised by four features: a group of people, a goal, limited time and money and a certain level of uncertainty regarding whether the goals will be achieved. Project managers are involved with all of these aspects. Supervising and directing a project is thus anything but an easy task.

Projects are becoming increasingly common. Project-based working methods have also found their way into non-profit organisations, including DANS. The rules of the game for projects in non-profit organisations differ from those in commercial organisations. Political factors play a particularly important role in non-profit organisations. This makes it even more difficult for projects to succeed, compared to projects in which commercial aspects play a part. Project leaders should be aware of this and be able to play the game of politics.

After several years of experience with IT projects, the authors of this handbook have become even more keenly aware of how IT projects differ from regular projects. Most importantly, projects are more dynamic, and that has both advantages and disadvantages. We have established that IT projects require an approach that differs at least partly – from the approaches that are appropriate for construction, re-organisations or other types of projects.

This handbook is intended for projects that are conducted by DANS. The first section describes a working method that can be followed for traditional projects. The second section describes the working method for IT projects, particularly those that involve software development. This handbook presents a practical model that will allow project members, project leaders, project managers, general managers, program managers, customers and project partners to play their roles within DANS better.

It is impossible to learn all there is to know about the field of project management. Theoretical development and practical experience are continually producing new insights. This handbook is therefore incomplete, and it will grow along with new developments in the area of project management. To make this possible, we have chosen to publish the text under a creative-commons license. This means that anyone is free to use, copy or change the text. Most importantly, it means that anyone who feels that the text is in need of additions or improvement should not hesitate to do just that!

Henk Harmsen
Deputy Director
The Hague, May 2006

Appendix 2: Roles within a project

This appendix provides definitions for the various roles of people who are part of a project.

  1. Project members/Project team
    The project members are the team members of the project those who actually carry out the project and those who have tasks within the project. Team members often have differing areas of expertise. Team members can be internal (company personnel), external (from project partners, customers, users or temporary personnel) or both.
  2. Project leader
    The project leader is the one who directs the project team and has ultimate responsibility for the project result. Depending upon what has been agreed, a project leader can obviously delegate responsibility to team members, and external managers may be responsible for some components of the project.
    In cyclical projects, the project leader represents the interests of both the customer and the programmers. Project leaders ensure that customers receive adequate technical explanation and help them to choose and prioritise functionalities.
  3. Project manager
    The terms project leader and project manager are often used interchangeably. A project manager is usually responsible for multiple projects, while a project leader usually has only one. Project leaders are thus located closer to the work floor than are project managers, who are usually more involved with direction and numbers. Other meanings and definitions also exist, and the terms are often used interchangeably.
  4. Programme manager
    The programme manager is the one who evaluates a number of projects within an organisation. Project leaders and project managers report to the programme manager, who is often a member of the management team.
  5. Customer
    The customer is the entity that has ordered the project result. Customers may participate actively in the project or maintain a greater distance. Although customers are sometimes also the users of the project result, this is not always the case. Consider the example of a university that wants a web application for its employees and students. In this case, the university is the customer, and its employees and students are the users.
  6. Users
    Users are the people who will actually use the project result. It is important to involve the users in the definition phase, design phase and in the testing of the project result
  7. Project partner
    The project partner is a third party (organisation) with whom the project is conducted. If several parties are participating in the project, it is obviously important to define and delimit responsibilities clearly.

Appendix 3: Useful resources for project management

    Website where open-source software can be found, including software for managing projects. The following open-source software can be downloaded here.
  2. Xplanner
    Xplanner is an open-source software tool for the administration and management of the cycles through story cards (according to the eXtreme Programming working method).
  3. Open-source CVS (Current Version System) administrative applications that are frequently used include CVS, Subversion and Gnu arch.
  4. MS Project, Fasttrack and others
    MS project is the best-known programme for carrying out the administration of a project and for making Gantt charts (bar graphs).
    Fasttrack is another well-known package, and there are many other open-source packages. These programmes are actually suitable only for projects that are conducted according to the waterfall method.
    Bugzilla is an open-source programme for the registration, protection and archiving of issues and bugs. This application is used primarily in software development.

Appendix 4: License for this handbook

The Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License applies to this work. To view this license, please visit or write to Creative Commons, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, California 94305, USA.

The following is a brief summary of the essence of this license:

The user may:

  • copy, distribute, display, revise or export this work
  • derive further works from this work

Under the following conditions:

  • Author citation. The user must cite the names Wouter Baarshttp://www.wouterbaars.net and DANS, The citing must be done with a link to these websites.
  • Non-commercial. The user may not use this work for commercial purposes.
  • Equal sharing. Should the user process this work, the resulting work can be distributed only under the same license as the original work.
  • For re-use or distribution, the user must make the license conditions of this work known to any third parties that are involved.
  • The user may waive one or more of these conditions only with the prior approval of the copyright holder.

Appendix 5: About DANS and the makers of this handbook

Data Archiving & Networked Services (DANS) is the national organisation in the Netherlands that provides for the storage of and perpetual access to data from research in the liberal arts and social sciences. To this end, DANS works together with researchers and encourages cooperation among scientists. DANS has the form of a network, with a centre that is responsible for the data infrastructure. This centre is comprised of a team of approximately fifteen people who work at the DANS office in The Hague or at one of the research centres throughout the country. For more information, please visit

Wouter Baars develops software and education. He studied business administration at the Eindhoven University of Technology. Since completing his studies, he has worked on a variety of projects in the area of old and new media. He worked as the project leader for the Waag Society, KPN, the Digitale Universiteit, the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, Noterik Multimedia and the European Commission, among other entities. In addition to his work as a developer, Baars teaches in the area of project management. More information on his work is available on the following website:

Dr. Henk Harmsen is adjunct directeur van DANS (Data Archiving & Networked Services), een nieuw initiatief van KNAW en NWO op het gebied van het archiveren en beschikbaarstellen van onderzoeksdata in Nederland. Henk studeerde alfa-informatica aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam en promoveerde aan de Vrije universiteit van Amsterdam. Hij heeft als bibliothecaris, hoofd van automatisering en hoofd bedrijfsvoering op een breed vlak ervaring opgedaan. Meer informatie is te vinden op:

Dr. Henk Harmsen is the adjunct director of DANS, which is a new initiative of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the NWO in the area of archiving and accessibility of research data in the Netherlands. Harmsen studied computer applications in the humanities at the Universiteit van Amsterdam and received a PhD from the Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam. His broad work experience includes positions as librarian, head of computerisation and head of business operations. More information about Harmsen is available on the following website:

Rutger Kramerstudied Information Technology at Delft University of Technology. For his graduation project, Kramer was involved with the ECPA Sepia project, in which he collaborated with the Netherlands Institute for Scientific Information Services (NIWI – KNAW) on a meta-data entry application. After completing his internship, he remained with NIWI as a technical scientific programmer. In this position, he worked on a variety of projects, including EVAMP and XPAST, which focused on the disclosure of digital heritage materials. As an information scientist with DANS, Kramer serves as IT liaison and project manager for internal and external R&D projects. He is involved in the Easy Store DMS project for DANS, in addition to providing database disclosure for the Faculty of Letters at Utrecht University.

Drs. Laurents Sesink is an information scientist in the department of Acquisition and Development at DANS. Sesink studied history at Utrecht University and historical information technology at Leiden University. As a former senior digitalisation-services, technical scientific programmer, development-group co-ordinator, senior consultant/project leader and policy worker, Sesink has a broad background in the area of scientific and administrative information services.

Drs. Joris van Zundert is a researcher and developer with the Huygens Institute, which is a subsidiary of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). He studied Dutch Language and Culture at Utrecht University. In addition to and following his studies, he developed a professional career as an independent designer and developer of Internet applications. He later combined education and practical experience while in service for the Netherlands Association for Science and Technology, the Netherlands Institute for Scientific Information Services and the Huygens Institute. In several projects, van Zundert has developed a variety of projects involving Internet applications and digital tools that are specifically focused on (literary historical) scientific use and research.

Appendix 6: Sample action-and-decision list

Project name: <enter project name>
Date: <enter date of last changes>
Owner: <enter the name of the person who administers this document>
Phase: <enter one of the following: initiation phase, definition phase, design phase, development phase, implementation phase or follow-up phase>

Action list

Nr. Topic Owner Date planned Completion date Status
1 Enter the tasks that must be carried out within a given period Name of the person who is responsible for this task 5-1-2006 3-1-2006 🙂
2 🙁

Decision list

Nr. Description Date
1 Enter descriptions of decisions that have been taken in consultation Date of the decision

Appendix 7: Sample Issue log

Project name: <enter project name>
Date: <enter date of last changes>
Owner: <enter name of the person who administers this document>

Nr. Type Issue description Name Date Priority Decision Status
1 RFC Enter a brief description of the issue that arose 1= high 3= low Describe the decision here ok
DS T = accepted
Q A= rejected
C U = postponed until…


Type Priority Decision Status
RFC= Request for change (general) 1 = Immediate action A = Accepted OK = Issue has been resolved
AS = afwijking van specificatie (t.o.v. ontwerp) 2 = Take action later R = Rejected Open = Awaiting resolution
 Q= Question 3 = No action P = Postponed until…(Date/event)
C = Concern
R = Risk

Appendix 8: Sample Risk log

Project name: <Enter project name>
Date: <enter date of last changes>
Owner: <enter name of the person who administers this document>

Nr. Description of risk Priority Measure Status
1 Enter a brief description of the perceived risk 1= high 3= low Describe the measures that were taken ok


Describe the measures that were taken Status
1 = take immediate action OK = Risk has been resolved.
2 = take action later open = awaiting action
3 = take no action