Our Project Management Framework

by Tobias Leonhardt - 28 Oct 2014

Yes, we develop software aiming the best user & service experience possible for our customer (externals as well as internals). That’s why we like agile. We support self-organization and autonomy of our teams. We think they are the best instance to decide what works best for them in making the most out of agile principles and methods. Product management and agile software development drives us.

For the need to communicate with a lot more teams and people, making sure that a large group of people share a common understanding for a complex, one time undertaking we developed a lean, agile project management framework that makes working together in large groups more efficient, easy and fun.

We started creating this framework in spring 2013. Until now we gained a lot of experiences with it. It has grown, was streamlined and still is a smart, lean framework with more guidance than constraints that leads to more communication & alignment than more documentation.

Beginning with this article we start to share this framework with you! We like YOU to benefit from it, tweak it and adapt it - and share your experiences with us, so we can make this framework even more helpful.


Our framework is a project management toolbox. And it is generic. It’s up to you - as the Project Lead - to pick out what you need… and please (!) don’t use what’s causing overhead, slowing you down or makes things less flexible and more complicated. KEEP IT SIMPLE!

In addition we offer a “Project Support Process”, a personal guidance and coaching for our Project Lead’s to help align the framework to their specific project needs - ensuring that they follow a smart Project Management Strategy.

Our framework contains:

  • a collection of project management principles
  • guiding overviews to visualize all parts of the management process
  • concrete descriptions of management tools & techniques including descriptions of project workshops
  • artefacts with templates & checklists
  • a description of the needed activities and responsibilities of the participants

Project Charter Canvas

We want our projects to have a good start. So we made this to one of our principles: “have a good start”.

To make this happen, for us it is most imported that we share a common understanding of what the project is all about:

  • What will we do and what not ? (Scope / Non-Scope),
  • Who is involved with which responsibilities ? (Stakeholders),
  • Where do we start ? (Initial Situation)
  • What are the risks we already can think about ? (Known Risks)
  • What will be the outcome of the project ? (Deliverables)
  • When will we be successful with the project (KPI’s / Success Factors)

We want to make sure that everybody is heading in the same direction, minimise misunderstandings, handle expectations actively and gain commitment from all sides.

To facilitate this we created the “Project Charter” artefact. In the various versions of templates we provide for this artefact the Canvas is the most haptical. You can really get the team involved physically when they brainstorm Post-It’s (or Statty’s) and move them on a big printout of this canvas. It is project and team building at the same time.

So feel free to use this Canvas - and send us feedback at tobias.leonhardt@zalando.de.


The main purpose of the artefact - like of all our artefacts - is to create clarity. If you have this clarity what the project is all about you don’t need the artefact anymore. It can be archived within our project file. The result of Project Chartering is the process itself and the raised awareness - not the document itself.

But the document itself is very useful: for communication, team alignment and as starting point for project planning. In every moment you have to explain what the project is all about you can show the Canvas...to shareholder, involved teams, new team members, management, etc. And with integrating their point of view, filling gaps or make it more precise, the Project Charter - and the general understanding - gets even better.

When you start to break down the elements of the Project Charter into more detail and make it more concrete you start “Project Planning”. With a good Charter this happens fluid - giving you “a good start” into project planning.

So go ahead, make your project idea visible. Use every communication about it to clarify your project and make it visible for everybody. “Have a good start!”

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