[box]This is a guest post from Külli Koort. She is the marketing director of Weekdone, a start-up that builds team collaboration and employee progress reporting tools based on popular management methodologies like PPP and OKR. You can connect with her and the Weekdone team on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. [/box]
If you lead a team, you probably have imagined or even observed teams that work together seamlessly, always smiling and bursting of excitement to be working together. These teams look something like this:
Yes, this is just an illustrative picture, but it doesn’t make our illusion any smaller. What’s important is that every team wishes to have this picture in real life. A team that is efficiently collaborating and enjoying each others’ companionship is one that thrives. In order to build great companies, we need to build great teams first. We need to find ways to manage our greatest resource, employees, in a respectful, but efficient way.
Have you ever wondered how Skype, eBay and Facebook manage to cope with big teams and even bigger objectives? They all have used a simple management technique for recurring status reporting called PPP (3Ps) – Progress, Plans and Problems. The goal of the PPP reports is to enhance team collaboration and bring everyone on the same page regarding what is going on in the team. Since the method itself is simple and flexible, it could be used in different industries and in various companies.
“It works great because it keeps everyone on the team informed.”
– Emi Gal, CEO of Brainient, on Progress, Plans and Problems
In general, each team member needs to report 4-5 achievements, goals and challenges from the reporting period. This period could be a quarter, month, week or even a day. For the maximum benefit, I recommend to report weekly, so the team and the team leader is constantly up to date with what gets done, what is planned and what causes troubles. This will speed up the learning process and give continual overview on how your team is achieving the defined goals.
What exactly stands behind each of these “P’s”?
Progress. This is all about the question, “What have you done?”. Whether it is in a week or in a month, it makes your team think about their achievements. Each team member needs to reflect on the past period and list key achievements that were accomplished. As a side effect, it will improve the reflection process, which in turn will help make better decisions in the future.
Plans. The question, “What are you going to do next?” is necessary to answer this. Think about the next reporting period and list the goals and objectives that need to be achieved. Hopefully, these are the same items that are going to move to progress in the end of the reporting period. Listing the key plans gives a great overview whether or not necessary steps are taken in order to come one step closer to the team or company objectives.
Problems. This answers to the question, “Are you facing any problems?”. Ideally, these are the items listed under the plans that the team member can’t finish. Instead of tackling these task alone or putting in long hours, it is more efficient to get help from someone else. Writing down problem areas will signal the whole team and prompt quick action towards solutions.
So, hop on the train and realize the full benefit of the PPP methodology. It is easy to implement and takes only a few minutes a week to carry out this process. You could use e-mail or a simple spreadsheet to make PPP work for you or use the online team collaboration tool, Weekdone, which compiles all of the information automatically.