The Project Model Canvas is considered a full collaborative method, in which all project stakeholders participate proactively, eliminating the well-known bureaucracy and excessive filling of unnecessary documents.

It allows understanding and controlling the relationship between the different project areas, in order to avoid disorganization and errors. It is considered a project management methodology that consists of grouping and relating the various areas of a project in a visual way, using post-it notes.

The first canvas model (Business Model Canvas) was created by the Swiss Alexandre Osterwalder and was mainly used by companies. The model was becoming popular in the corporate world with several applications.

Based on the Business Model Canvas, José Finocchio created the Project Model Canvas, focused on project management.

The Project Model Canvas does not necessarily replace a formal planning document, but it helps to carry it out effectively and more democratically.


PM Canvas consists of a set of 13 blocks to define the project. Each block represents an area of the project, and these blocks are directly related to neighboring blocks.

Due to the relationship between the blocks, it is easier to find inconsistencies in the Project and identify the impacts, that changes in one area cause in related areas.

Project planning can be done with greater participation from those involved and, for this, everyone just needs to discuss the ideas and put what was established in post-it notes, which will be placed on the board (in the respective 13 blocks, from the justifications to the costs).

These 13 blocks are structured in 5 columns that are fundamental for a project: “Why?”, “What?”, “Who?”, “How?” and “When / How much?”



This column is made up of the justifications, objectives and benefits blocks. It is necessary that the 3 blocks in this column make sense and answer the reason for carrying out the project and what is its purpose.

For example, in a project of structural renovation of an office building, one justification might be that there are risks to employee safety due to the building condition.

The specific objective could be to repair old structural damage and replace deficient items with safer and more modern ones. Among the benefits, we could include the reduction of the risk of accidents with employees and possible lawsuits arising from such situations.

The justifications must present problems to be solved. With the execution of the project, it is necessary to have consistent benefits that solve the problems identified in the justifications.

If it is not possible to relate these three blocks, it means that there are inconsistencies in the reason for carrying out your project.


The “what” column refers to what will be accomplished in the project. It is made up of the product and requirements blocks and responds to what will be done throughout the project or the product that will emerge from its conclusion. Remember to check if the objectives are consistent with the generated product and if it meets the needs of the stakeholders.


The “who” column is made up of the external Stakeholders and the team. It answers who is in the project and who provides the subsidies for its realization. A project is carried out by people. It is necessary to ensure that there are people responsible for all activities and that there are no gaps between things that need to be done and the necessary human resources.


The “how” column is nothing more than the group of blocks that detail the work that will be done on the project and under what conditions it will take place, almost like the scope. This column is composed of the block of assumptions, deliverables and constraints.

How much?

The risk, timeline, and cost block make up the when and how much column. This is the schedule column, which makes it clear when the project will be delivered and how much it will cost. In addition to the risks to which the project is or will be exposed during its life cycle and which may change the forecasted deadlines and budgets.

Benefits of using Project Model Canvas:

  • It facilitates the project understanding, as it is a more collaborative approach, where the team participates in the construction of the project planning.
  • Visually presents the dependency relationship between the different areas of the project and allows faster identification, during project planning, of problems and inconsistencies.
  • Optimized communication between those involved in the project, due to better understanding and dialogue between project team members. Furthermore, as the canvas can be exposed and accessible to everyone (visual management), it is much easier for the team to know and remember when there is any kind of change in the planning.
  • Increased objectivity when creating tasks, as the whiteboard model with post it notes favors this, allowing them to be easily moved from one column to another or removed in case of project changes.

Written by Prof. Fabio Guedes