Founder’s Toolbox: PPPM/HPM Edition

June 25, 2020

We’ve committed to sharing our Oceans OS for founders and their team members to use. These frameworks provide a map and guidelines to accomplish what is at hand and allow some flexibility as we all know one size fits most, but not all. Regardless of your company’s mission, product, or size, effective communication is crucial for any early-stage business. With that in mind, we created a tool to help facilitate open and clear communication across a team; it’s what we like to call the PPPM/HPM.


The PPPM (Progress/People/Problems/Me), or otherwise referred to as HPM (Highlights/Problems/Me), helps get your internal and external team members on the same page. This template helps build a communication culture where information is shared consistently across teams and locations. By identifying key aspects of your business that are either progressing or challenging and how others can help, your internal team can align, maintain, focus, and have more high-value discussions.

Although there are particular benefits of using the PPPM depending on a person’s role, everyone profits from reflecting on the progress they’ve made, the obstacles they face, and clarity on areas where help may be needed. Because this is so easy to revise and maintain, it makes weekly updates painless to compile and share, not to mention it’s especially useful come review time as it serves as a record of progress and accomplishments. By utilizing this tool, preparing an update should not take more than 15 minutes, and serves both internal and external audiences. The PPPM can be sent out on a bi-weekly basis to an internal team or monthly when sent to investors.

Benefits for Founders / Execs

  • As a leader, this is a great way to ensure you know what is happening in the organization from the bottom up. It helps you keep a pulse on what’s going on because, with a full picture, you can then consolidate what is happening in different functions/areas – and allows you to see themes across the organization. You can then organize and summarize back out to the whole org what is happening from 20,000 feet.
  • When your team members use this framework, you can quickly get up to speed on their progress, blockers, state of mind, and needs.
  • Team members who may not be familiar with leaders revealing the challenges they are facing are more likely to explain where they also need help, which surfaces problems sooner and enables the team to pitch in.
  • This framework can also be used to share externally with investors or partners so that they are aware of your company’s status, and what they can do to help you.

Benefits for Team Members

As a team member, transparency about challenges and where help is needed enables colleagues to rally around a function that needs support or to help get a project done to meet a deadline. It also promotes focus and autonomy: the company goals

  • With deeper knowledge of goings-on, team members are set up to more clearly understand how their activities contribute to the greater organization’s goals and, as a result, feel more motivated and accountable. Not to mention, it allows a team member to recognize if something they are doing doesn’t map to a priority and provides data for them to speak up.
  • Team members’ accomplishments are called out and celebrated, enabling the entire team to see and celebrate peers’ achievements. Conversely, when a team member has a need, the whole team can align on what they can do to support their colleague.
  • When personal information is shared, team members learn more about and connect with team members, ultimately promoting a more trusting and healthier team and culture.

Give the PPPM a try, and please let us know what you think.

Reach out to us here for an editable version.