About P4

The P4-Dev framework describes a new type of organizational structure for companies that develop physical products. Together with its sister framework, the P4-Ops for operational business, P4-Dev describes a holistic operating system for product development in modern organizations that implement the principles of lean and agility.

Pragmatic Paradigms, Principals & Practices for Development

The P4-Dev Framework (P4 for short) is based on the Scrum framework and extends this with additional levels in order to be able to map organizations of size between 30 and approx. 1000 people (aka scaling). At these levels, new roles, artifacts and events are defined according to the Scrum principles. Alternatively to Scrum, teams can also use Kanban.

P4 is divided into the description of Roles, Artifacts and Events:

  • Roles: The description of the organization in the form of single roles, teams and groups
  • Artifacts: The backlogs, backlog elements and element types, as well as the results and products
  • Events: periods and meetings and their content

Many of the pragmatic principles and practices described are known from other systems and frameworks and are integrated holistically in the P4 framework:

Why another agile scaling framework?

Although there are a number of frameworks for scaling agility, they lack some elements that are particularly necessary for the development of physical products and complex systems. Therefore, we have integrated the following additional elements into the P4 framework:

  • The P4 organizational structure takes into account not only interdisciplinary (cross-functional) teams with responsibility for features, products or applications , but also supplying Module, Component and platform teams, as well as teams that provide special expertise as a service to other teams . The high level of specialization in modern system development makes the different types of teams necessary. In the P4 framework we call these team types “team flavors”.
  • In addition to the roles of Product Owner and Scrum Master , P4 introduces the role of the System Engineer, in which the responsibility for the technology and architecture of a Team is bundled. The System Engineer also represents his team’s technological expertise at the next higher scaling level.
  • For the training and further education of members of interdisciplinary teams, as well as the joint further development of internally used tools, P4 integrates the ideas of Communities of Practice .
  • At the scaling levels ( Cluster and Organization ), groups are formed from members of the “lower” level. This overlap principle simplifies information flows between the levels. Events at the levels involved are decoupled by the so-called Cadence. It provides a kind of “timetable” for the Organization.
  • The Backlog Structure and its partly new elements support system developments of physical products and represent a procedure guide. In particular, the concept of Knowledge Gaps enables structured knowledge-based development and iterative learning.
  • The collaboration model of Nucleus, Extended Team, Supporter and Stakeholder integrated in P4 expands the simple Scrum model (employees are completely or not at all in the team) and thus supports the collaboration of experts with several teams. The collaboration is fully integrated into the organization’s events.


In addition to the practices described above, tried and tested elements from classic methods are integrated into the “P4 toolbox”, such as requirements and test management, as well as model-based development from systems engineering.

Since P4 is a framework, other beneficial and deemed necessary practices can be integrated. However, it is essential to ensure that the P4 principles are observed ( see P4 principles ).

What is different from the classic matrix organization?

A classic matrix organization usually consists of the specialist departments (the lines) and a project organization in which interdisciplinary collaboration is carried out in many parallel projects. Each employee usually works in several projects at the same time. In large companies there is sometimes a third dimension, which divides the line organization into an international and a location-based line with the corresponding additional superiors (sometimes referred to as “dotted line”).

In today’s world of work, this “serving several gentlemen” is often a problem, since most of the work is done in the projects, but the project managers are often less empowered and in the event of a conflict, the line managers usually prevail. This is reinforced by the large number of line managers in the interdisciplinary project team, who are mostly driven by different goals and act in different directions.

In modern agile frameworks, such as P4-Dev, the balance of power of the matrix is ​​reversed: the team that is stable over time and in which an employee is located has the strongest “bond” and is allocated the most capacity of the employee, ideally 100%. An employee works for several teams (Extended Team member) only in exceptional cases. The type of team (in P4 “team flavor”) regulates whether a team works interdisciplinary with product responsibility, partly interdisciplinary with Component / Module responsibility or as a specialist group, e.g. as a service team with a certain technical competence.

The technical line merges into the so-called “Communities-of-practice, where the employees exchange content, where training takes place, and technologies and tools are maintained and further developed.

Teams that work together on the same products organize themselves in a cluster, similar to the “Agile Release Train”, the “Value Stream” or the “Program Level” in other agile frameworks. The overall organization consists of several Clusters that are responsible for different product areas. This creates a high degree of coherence between the goals and responsibility of the teams in the cluster.

In P4 there are no projects, no project managers and no project teams. Contents of product development projects are presented in the backlogs of the organization, the Clusters and the teams. The projects most closely correspond to the system or application versions (releases) planned at the Organization/Portfolio level.




Further suitable links:

Events Roles Groups Artifacts
Team Planning

Team Sync

Team Backlog Refinement

Team Review

Team Retrospective


Cluster Planning

Cluster Sync

Cluster Backlog Refinement

Cluster Review

Cluster Retrospective


Portfolio Planning

Organisation Sync

Portfolio Refinement

Portfolio Review

Organisation Retrospective

Team Product Owner

Team System Engineer

Team Scrum Master


Cluster Product Owner

Cluster System Engineer

Cluster Scrum Master


Portfolio Owner

Portfolio Architect

Organisation Scrum Master

Working Team

Community of Practice


Team Product Owner Group

Team System Engineer Group

Team Scrum Master Group

Cluster Management Circle


Cluster Product Owner Group

Cluster System Engineer Group

Cluster Scrum Master Group

Organisation Management Circle

Team Backlog

Inspectable Results

Team DoD

Team Improvement Backlog


Cluster Backlog

Usable Knowledge & System Increment

Cluster DoD

Cluster Improvement Backlog


Portfolio Backlog

Systems & Applications

System Platforms & Variants

Organisation DoD

Organisation Improvement Backlog