Summer Course – Project Management in Water Management Contexts

IHE Delft course

Target Audience

Summer courses at IHE Delft are for advanced students and professionals in the water and related sectors.


Management is a generic set of skills and methods universally applied in the water management context, ranging from team organization to risk assessment to communication. As such, the course deals with the context in which water professionals bring their technical expertise to bear on a daily basis. Rather than focussing on civil engineering projects, this summer course considers project management practices for a broader range of settings, such as start-ups, development agencies, research projects or NGOs, especially in developing countries.

With some emphasis on issues of leadership, the course seeks to prepare students for future roles as project managers and team leaders. In this, students will be looking at their technical expertise from the perspective of a decision-maker, thus gaining a better grasp of the subjective aspects and broad contextual factors of their field.

The syllabus covers topics the following topics:

The project cycle: characteristics of projects, managing multistakeholder projects in environmental management.
- Project Initiation: Selection and justification of projects, stakeholder assessment and definition of goals and scope
- Projects as social systems: project roles, teams, and organization.
- Risk Management: principles, tools and techniques for risk assessment and probabilistic risk management (in collaboration with TU Delft)
- From management to leadership: Communication, culture and conflicts
The summer course is designed as problem-based active learning. Students will be encouraged to share their own project experience. During the summer course, students will work in a team on a specific case study, preparing a project plan for a water-related issue. On the last day of the course, each team will present their project plans to the other teams.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
1. Understand the specific challenges of decision-making in a project context
2. Develop and assess the rationale for a project and facilitate stakeholder-based project planning
3. Understand projects as social systems and develop criteria to establish functioning multi-functional project teams
4. Apply probabilistic risk analysis techniques and understand risk as core aspect of project management and decision making
5. Understand the role of culture, internal, and external communication in achieving project goals and managing conflicts