Do you know the one thing in common in companies like Skype, eBay and Facebook?

True, they are all successful in their own industries. But how did they get there?

One reason is that each used simple management technique called the 3Ps — the technique of progress, plans and problems. Now, it might sound silly to summarize the success of such remarkable enterprises to a single management method, but there is no reason to undervalue the true power in it. After all, companies are built up by people belonging to various teams. If the human resources are not managed properly, how could companies build extraordinary products or services?

Therefore, it is fair to say that unless you are a one-person business, it is crucial to find proper ways to collaborate and communicate with the people in your company. Or how else have you imagined becoming the next big phenomenon in your niche?

So, what exactly is this PPP methodology?

PPP reports communicate three essential facts about a project: progress, problems and plans. These are both informal and informative.” — Cleve Gibbon, CTO at Cognifide, “Planning, Productivity and Progress – The Power of P”

PPP is a management technique for recurring (either daily, weekly or monthly) progress reporting. In short, every member in a team lists three to five achievements, goals and challenges in the defined time range. That is exactly where the magical acronym of PPP comes from:

Progress. These are your employees’ individual accomplishments. These are the finished tasks for the period ending. This section is something your employees are most proud of and it answers one simple question: What have you done?

It’s crucial for everyone to put down the biggest accomplishments. Even if someone has sharpened eight pencils in five seconds, there is no need to write it down. To give yourself, the team and superiors a better overview, try to stick to key achievements.

Plans. These are the objectives for the next reporting period. Think about the upcoming future and put down the activities that needs to be done and that help move towards a bigger goal. Writing these things down is the first step committing yourself to the tasks and one step closer to achieving the overall objective. Think about what are you going to do next.

Once again, the key is in listing few crucial plans, rather than an overwhelming amount of work no sane person could achieve. Form the habit of planning and do it well. This method will teach you and your team to set ambitious yet actionable objectives.

Problems. These are the tasks or items that your employees have planned, but aren’t able to finish. Just ask your team and yourself: Am I facing any problems? This is a perfect place for feedback and guidance. Typically, it is something caused by another team-member delay, external factor or unexpected event. Before jumping to conclusions, analyze the problem areas and provide the necessary remedies.

Remember, a trusted environment is needed for employees to report about their problems and challenges. So, don’t fire away with harsh comments; instead, listen and recognize your people.

Who can use this method?

This methodology is so simple and flexible that it suits private and public enterprises, SMEs and Fortune 500 companies, technology and mass-production firms. Emi Gal, the co-founder of Brainient, uses PPP to report to his advisors and investors. Belfor, a leader in disaster recovery and property restoration, has been using weekly planning and reporting to help people learn to plan out their time.

How could you unleash the power of 3Ps in your team?

Implementing this method in your team is easy and takes just 10 minutes per week from everyone. As a result you get a stronger team that collaborates and moves towards one objective.

There are various methods how you could put PPP work for your team. You could ask every team member send a weekly/monthly e-mail that includes these three areas. Although this is the quickest and easiest solution, it doesn’t give a good overview of the whole team.

Secondly, you could make one spreadsheet that each individual team member can fill out. But as the information compiles period after period, it gets harder to manage the data and tougher to spot the key learnings.

As time passes, people might forget to update their plans, progress and problems. One solution is to use an online team-collaboration tool, like Weekdone, that is based on the PPP system.

Külli Koort is the marketing director of Weekdone, a startup 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+.

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