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