Karl Renner, Project Manager in London, United Kingdom
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Karl Renner

Verified Expert  in Project Management

Project Manager

London, United Kingdom
Toptal Member Since
August 12, 2022

Karl is a project and program manager with extensive experience in technology roles, focusing on software delivery, process, and operations. He is an expert at handling budgets, leading teams and workshops, and creating support systems that accelerate delivery performance. Karl's certifications include traditional project management and multiple Agile roles, including scrum master, product owner, and leading SAFe.

Project Highlights

Increasing Revenue Through Faster Operations
Addressed the cause of slow lead times at an ad tech startup, which reduced customer onboarding time and boosted revenue.
500 People Quarterly Planning Event
Responsible for the planning and coordination of a SAFe PI planning event for over 30 development teams.


Work Experience

Contract Delivery Director

2021 - PRESENT
Sanderson Howe
  • Joined a small digital consultancy to establish project management practices, provide client-facing project leadership, and improve their new business proposals.
  • Consulted on live client projects, including an internal CRM for a healthcare provider, internal inventory management for an engineering firm, a B2C fintech Flutter app, a B2C online retailer, and a B2B community platform.
  • Utilized Miro and Atlassian products to lead client-facing and internal workshops on business strategy, product planning, release planning, and technical architecture.
  • Managed a software evaluation project to select project management tools for Sanderson Howe, including trialing integrations and automation between development tools and budget and timesheet tools.
  • Led the audit of a healthcare client's primary IT system (patient records management) to determine the feasibility of rebuilding, enhancing, or replacing it with off-the-shelf software. Presented findings and recommendations to C-suite stakeholders.

Contract Program Coordinator

2021 - 2022
Suncorp New Zealand
  • Supported the rollout of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) delivery framework within a corporate partnerships program that included New Zealand's largest bank.
  • Managed the budget, resources, and PMO compliance for seven teams and over 80 staff.
  • Delivered several quarterly planning events using Jira, Teams, and Miro. The events spanned several days and had hundreds of attendees. Documented processes and trained four incoming program coordinators.

Operations Director

2016 - 2019
Fresh8 Gaming
  • Was contracted to lead the creation of the startup's initial product version, which provided sports betting customers with personalized programmatic display ads using AI. After completing that project, accepted a permanent role on the management team.
  • Implemented an Agile delivery model using Jira and Miro and coached teams on self-organization, including facilitating quarterly product planning workshops.
  • Implemented metrics tracking at the team and company levels.
  • Delivered award-winning transactional ad technology, allowing existing customers to purchase directly from display advertising.
  • Led a Lean process improvement project that reduced the time-to-first-invoice metric by 80%.
  • Created a company knowledge base and documented procedures.

Contract Project Management Consultant

2015 - 2016
  • Assessed digital delivery team performance and conducted interviews with internal stakeholders.
  • Presented research findings to the digital board and proposed several approaches to addressing key challenges.
  • Created a draft delivery framework for the head of the digital board to implement or modify as needed.

Contract Senior Project Manager for Citibank

2014 - 2015
Critical Mass
  • Took over a rollout of Citibank's credit card loyalty portal for APAC and EMEA markets. Each local market release included functional and content changes and setup of point-based eCommerce and flight booking.
  • Established change control processes to ensure that frequently changing documentation and assets remained in sync across at least three concurrent releases in different stages of development.
  • Improved the defect tracking by creating processes that aligned our Atlassian-based issue tracking with our client's ALM/Quality Center issue tracking and fed the results into daily SIT and UAT defect exchanges with other vendors.
  • Led a team distributed across the UK, US, Canada, and Costa Rica that contributed to an Agile program led by the client.
  • Managed the translation of the site content into local languages, including Chinese and Thai.

Contract Senior Project Manager

2014 - 2014
Football Album
  • Joined this early-stage startup reporting to the founder to create a mobile social network for football fans. Allowed fans to engage around live match data, such as goals or penalties, provided via integration with the Opta Sports Data API.
  • Led Agile management to deliver iOS and Android app releases against an agile product roadmap.
  • Introduced Charles Proxy as a debugging tool that could intercept requests between the phone and web server.
  • Migrated project management tooling from Trello to Jira and implemented Agile working methods.

Contract Project Management Consultant

2014 - 2014
  • Explored ways to scale D3R's flat organizational structure without adding middle management.
  • Led multiple discovery workshops to reveal their existing processes and identify risk areas.
  • Created processes, tools, and documents to mitigate risk areas.
  • Led selection process for resource management software to alleviate scheduling bottlenecks.
  • Supported two successful new businesses' RFP pursuits.

Contract Project Director for Diageo

2013 - 2013
Mullenlowe Open
  • Delivered a greenfield Russian lifestyle content end-to-end website and CRM program for a multinational beverage alcohol company.
  • Oversaw vendors for website, multilingual content production, data platform, social media marketing, and IoT smart packaging.
  • Managed a multimillion-pound budget, statement of work, and program reporting.

Contract Senior Project Manager for AB InBev

2012 - 2013
  • Led a team of 10 strategists and researchers assessing the digital marketing portfolio of brands such as Becks, Budweiser, and Corona for our client based in New York.
  • Collaborated on a qualitative and quantitative audit of over 100 websites, social media accounts, mobile apps, and CRM across 14 countries.
  • Delivered strategic recommendations by region and digital channel.
  • Created the project plan, budget, and schedules. Managed project to successful delivery.
  • Led a side project to select appropriate social media listening providers through requirements discovery and gap analysis.

Contract Senior Project Manager

2011 - 2012
Grand Union
  • Managed an on-site innovation project with Carphone Warehouse and their vendors to create an in-store tablet application while working in sprints to produce UX and design concepts.
  • Led an on-site discovery phase for a program of enhancements to Waitrose.com, collaborating with their eCommerce and change teams. Used customer lifecycle analysis to identify enhancements scope, defined technical approach, and ways of working.
  • Developed project status reporting tools using Excel and Visual Basic, which became the standard for all projects at Grand Union.
  • Led a team of six in creating the Freeview TV app for mobile devices and tablets, both native applications connecting to a data provider via web services.
  • Contributed to a marketing campaign for Boots and P&G, including small websites, display advertising, and email marketing.

Contract Program Coordinator for Nike

2010 - 2010
  • Supported the AKQA Nike teams of 50+ FTEs during the 2010 Football World Cup build-up and the creation of several award-winning experiences. Reported to the program director for Nike and the head of operations.
  • Maintained an overarching Microsoft project plan for the Nike program, covering all live projects and resources.
  • Captured program status from project managers and created a consolidated report for weekly meetings with the head of operations with a strong focus on risk.
  • Created Excel and Visual Basic tools to automatically flag at-risk projects based on predefined risk criteria.

Contract Production Manager for Sky TV

2009 - 2010
  • Delivered digital marketing campaigns and updates to the eCommerce platform for sky.com.
  • Led design and build projects for new functionality on Sky.com, including price calculators and dynamically replacing site content based on the customer's activity.
  • Achieved cost efficiencies by streamlining routine processes, including the monthly site content update and a routine swap out of content that affected hundreds of assets around the website.
  • Ran a successful trial of an offshore development team based in Eastern Europe.

Digital Producer

2007 - 2009
Tribal DDB New Zealand
  • Delivered web builds and creative campaigns, often integrated into campaigns with the wider DDB group of agencies such as DDB for television, RAPP for direct, and PHD for media.
  • Developed a platform for testing Telecom New Zealand's new 5G network. The core functionality was automated surveys delivered via email and an analytics system that could pinpoint issues based on phone features and country regions.
  • Created brand guidelines for Telecom New Zealand's email marketing, including visual design, technical standards, permission management, sender details, and subject lines.
  • Delivered a web, email, and SMS platform to support an alternate reality game for Smirnoff.

Digital Producer

2004 - 2006
Proximity New Zealand
  • Joined as the web agency's first digital resource in Wellington, New Zealand, reporting to the head of the digital in Auckland.
  • Managed web builds and creative campaigns with in-house and outsourced development teams.
  • Developed HTML code for email builds and surveys, integrating them into the in-house tooling for managing direct marketing campaigns.

Freelance Developer and Consultant

2002 - 2005
Self Employed
  • Provided IT support, equipment rental, and consultancy on a freelance basis.
  • Developed Filemaker Pro databases for customers, including a university workshop, a winery, two small sales organizations, and a call center.
  • Created a web portal using PHP, HTML, and CSS to allow a sales organization to monitor its teams' performance and securely communicate with their customers.

Increasing Revenue Through Faster Operations

Addressed the cause of slow lead times at an ad tech startup, which reduced customer onboarding time and boosted revenue.

New customer rollouts of our display advertising product were taking too long. Building the ads faster would mean billing customers earlier, which means a faster return on marketing spend. The challenge was that our development teams were already highly efficient.

I formed a working group to review the customer onboarding process using a Lean technique called value stream mapping. Our group analyzed all processes between the first customer contact and the first invoice. We found many short delays due to waiting for customer approvals and third parties.

A strategy was designed to get the ads to customers faster, along with a roadmap of features that would support it. We would offer new customers unlimited amends and customizations to their ads, provided they go live with a basic version of their ads. Our team would then incrementally improve the ads in a live environment. This allowed much faster invoicing and actually led to fewer client changes.

We then built a suite of tools that allowed our design team to create ads without input from developers, further speeding up new customer rollouts. By the time we closed the project, developers rarely touched customer rollouts, and customer onboarding time had been reduced by 80%.

500 People Quarterly Planning Event

Responsible for the planning and coordination of a SAFe PI planning event for over 30 development teams.

The planning event was organized for stakeholders and teams of teams. It aimed to bring them together to plan their workloads, exchange dependencies, and build confidence for the following quarter. Due to COVID-19, the event had to be remote.

This particular event included more than doubling the number of teams involved, with many existing teams being reorganized and assigned to new leaders. We had to ensure all participants were trained, had been through multiple event simulations, and had appropriate support to address problems on the day.

I acted as the lead coordinator and drove the event planning, lined up presenters like the CEO and CIO, scheduled training simulations, and coached new leaders and coordinators on the practical aspects of the day. According to feedback, all teams had found success, and it had been the best-run planning event to date.

Nightlife Website for the Russian Market

Led the work program for a global beverage company seeking to create a nightlife content brand for the Russian market and provide information on bars, events, and ideas for home-based entertainment.

After registering, users from Russia could choose to see enhanced versions of the content, including branded content that was invisible to unregistered users. For example, a short post about a new restaurant in Moscow would be enhanced for members with an interview with the head chef and their favorite cocktail recipe, naturally highlighting the client's beverage brands.

I was the day-to-day contact for the program of work, owned the budget and program plan, and ensured the on-time delivery by several vendor companies. The program included reworking the existing global CRM platform to comply with Russian data regulations, creating the website brand, content plan, analytics strategy, email templates, website, and smart-packaging (IoT) integrations.

The new platform was delivered on time, within budget, and handed off to the client's local teams for content production.

Analysis of Leading Project Management Platforms

Identified the requirements for a work management platform and analyzed leading combinations of platforms for a professional services firm.

After a discovery phase to identify management needs for this web development firm, I categorized their operational systems into five areas. These areas were:
• project plans such as budgets and resourcing
• project software development tools such as boards and tickets
• project team workspaces such as doc management and tasks
• business accounting, such as complex invoicing and scenario-based forecasts
• business operations such as SOPs, contracts, and approvals.

These areas best suited to a software solution were related to project plans, budgets, resourcing, and timesheets. There was a secondary requirement to provide a project workspace.

From a software perspective, I reviewed over 50 applications, grouping them into eight categories, and from the list, I recommended two categories that could satisfy the client's needs. We then shortlisted apps for live trials.
2000 - 2002

Bachelor's Degree in Commerce

Victoria University of Wellington - Wellington, New Zealand

MAY 2022 - MARCH 2023

SAFe 5 Product Owner/Product Manager

Scaled Agile


SAFe 5 Agilist

Scaled Agile


SAFe 5 Scrum Master

Scaled Agile


PRINCE2 Practitioner



AgilePM (DSDM) Foundation & Practitioner

Agile Business Consortium


Jira, Miro, Microsoft Project, Project Management & Work Tracking Tools, Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, Confluence, Slack, Atlassian Suite, FileMaker Pro, Trello, Office 365, G Suite, Excel 365, Google Analytics, SQL, Adobe Director, Xero Accounting, HP Quality Center (QC), Asana, GitHub, JetBrains, Celoxis, Wrike, Harvest, Xero, HubSpot, TestFlight, Basecamp, Adobe Flash, FileMaker, PostgreSQL

Industry Expertise

Digital Marketing, Digital Media, Healthcare, Health, Telecommunications, Banking & Finance, Nonprofits, Real Estate


Agile, Requirements Analysis, Release Trains, Agile Project Management, Digital Marketing Best Practices, Waterfall Delivery, Implementation Project Management, Kanban, Scrum, Agile Leadership, B2B, Agile Product Management, Agile Software Development, Lean, Microservices Architecture, KISS, Change Management, Data-driven Development, Organizational Analysis


Taiga, Monday.com, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), WordPress, iOS


Consulting, Product Owner, Project Management, Statement of Work, Budgeting, RAID, Capacity Planning, Workshops, Remote Team Leadership, Remote Work, Project Planning, Project Timelines, Project Delivery, Web Applications, Stakeholder Management, Project Reporting, Web Project Management, Risk Management, Requirements, Project Estimation, Staffing, Reporting, Progress Reporting, Sprint Planning, Software Project Management, Project Consultancy, Workflow, Process Flows, Communication, Process Improvement Project Management, Process Improvement, Distributed Team Management, Marketing, Implementation, Software Implementation, System Implementation, Workflow Tools, IT Project Management, Project Scheduling, Cross-functional Collaboration, Cross-functional Team Leadership, Web Development, Planning, Digital Project Management, Project Design, Website Redesign, Scope of Work, Templates, Meetings, Status Updates, Client Delivery Management, Digital Solutions, Custom Solutions, Event Tracking, Data Integration, Operations Tools, Forecasting, Estimation & Planning, Scope Management, End-to-end Implementation (E2E), Project Budget Management, Consumer Applications, Assets, Mobile/Web Project Management, Project Tracking, Minimum Viable Product (MVP), Detail-oriented, Prototyping, Team Leadership, Waterfall Methodology, Workshop Facilitation, Content Management Systems (CMS), Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Scrum Master, Continuous Improvement, Product Management, Product Planning, Agile Transformation, Feature Backlog Prioritization, Business Proposals, Release Management, Advertising Technology (Adtech), Business to Business (B2B), Discovery Workshops, Project Discovery, Backlog Management, Data, Databases, Technical Program Management, Startups, Operations, Feature Analysis, Technical Project Management, People Management, GAP Analysis, Process Design, APIs, Email Marketing, Stakeholder Engagement, Email Marketing Automation, A/B Testing, Email Campaigns, Writing & Editing, Scaling, Discovery, Team Management, Agile Product Delivery, Data Management, Project Management Operations, Sales, Audience Targeting, Conversion, Business Analysis, Business Logic, Analysis, Frameworks, Lean Startups, Operational Efficiency Improvement, Operational Workflow, Vendor Selection, Training & Training Content Development, Tech Sales, RFPs, RFQs, ITTs, Responses, Proposals & Quotes, Client Services, Client Presentations, Project Coordination, Agile Practices, SaaS, Marketing Technology (MarTech), DMP, Marketing Attribution, Data-driven Marketing, Analytics, REST APIs, Consumer Privacy, Organizational Structure, Process Mapping, System Integration, Creativity, Marketing Research & Analysis, Project Scoping, Business Process Analysis, Risk Assessment, Mobile Applications, Discovery Management, Business Delivery Management, Process Documentation, Project Rescue, Mobile App Development, Enterprise SaaS, Airtable, No-code Development, Forms, Strategic Planning & Execution, IT Audits, MySQL, Low Code, Integration, Software as a Service (SaaS), Invoicing, Fitness, Atlassian Plugins, Jira Administration, DSDM, HTML, CSS, Visual Basic .NET (VB.NET), IT Strategy, Agile Coaching, User Stories, Backlog Grooming, Business Cases, Business Transformation, Lean Budgets, Lean Portfolio Management, Portfolio Management, Product Strategy, Negotiation, IT Contracts, Project Management Office (PMO), Microsoft Project Server, Compliance, Business Strategy, Machine Learning, User Experience (UX), Java, Content Management, Internationalization, Agile Program Management, Business Model Canvas, Event Management, Product Ownership, Branding, Program Management, Vendor Management, Google Cloud Machine Learning, Value Stream Mapping, Creative Design, Creative Briefs, Web Marketing, B2C Marketing, Training Workshops, PI Planning, Mavenlink, Zoho, Teamwork, Smartsheet, ClickUp, Notion, Fibery, Next Matter, Resource Management, Product Discovery, Management Consulting, Business Consulting, Startup Consulting, UX Strategy, Research, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Mobile, Mobile Apps, SEO Audits, Product Development, Native Mobile Apps, Data Visualization, Dashboards, Dashboard Development, Policies & Procedures Compliance, Enterprise, Corporate, Social Media, Social Media APIs, Social Media Design, Social Media Apps, Social Media Platforms, Social Media Marketing (SMM), Social Media Content, Display Advertising, Websites, Pair Programming, Email Design, Brand Identity, PHP, FileMaker Server, eCommerce, Automation, Content, Regulatory Compliance, Legacy Software, Requirements & Specifications, Fintech, Data Transformation, Business Models, Business Planning, Teams, IT Operations Management (ITOM), Brand Management, Brand Building, Leads, Data Analysis, Financial Statements, Financial Statement Preparation, Coaching, PMO Development, Build Processes, Demo Designs, Customer Success, Scrum Coaching, Advisory, Mobile Marketing, Workflow Automation, Accounting, Product Roadmaps, Jira Administrator, Feature Planning, Engineering, Enterprise Architecture, Healthcare IT, Translation, Communication Strategy, Business Process Flow (BPF), Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), Computer System Validation, Cloud, Multitenancy, Security, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Stakeholder Analysis, Field Service & Distribution, Regulations, Field Service Management, Software Development

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