Gusto's GusTools Playbook

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Succinct executive summary centered around a specific problem to facilitate a decision or information sharing.
Project managers will use this as a tool for clear and effective communication to key stakeholders and leadership. This can be used at any point in a project process -- it can be forward looking (i.e. requires a decision, feedback) or backwards looking (i.e. status update, information sharing).
Keep it simple and
: no gaps, no overlaps, be succinct
Emphasize the most important points
Clarify the intent -- is there a request from the audience or is this purely for information sharing?

[Your Project] | Memo/Recommendation

Date Created:
5/14/2020 2:56:39 PM
(will automatically update)
Questions: Ask [email or Slack username]
RAPID Framework


Frame the problem or opportunity. This provides important, relevant context for the discussion that the audience already knows and accepts as fact.

💡 Tip: This should answer the questions, “Where are we now? How did we get here?” State the points the audience may already know, but in a sequence that is organized and easy to digest. Typical situations are “we have a task to perform”, “we identified a problem”, “we pursued an opportunity” and “we took an action”.


The reason the situation requires action or decision from leadership. This is the tension point -- a fork in the road, new discovery, or notable disruption to the status quo.

💡 Tip: This should continue the story and answer the questions, “What happened next? Why are we facing a challenge / roadblock?” If the audience is not in the know, this could also include the discovery of the problem, the identification of the root causes, and the projected impact should the root causes not be addressed. Some complications include “we encountered a roadblock,” “we uncovered new information”, “a different path emerged” and “the action we took didn’t work”.


The implicit question that results from the complication.

💡 Tip: This should answer the question “What are you trying to solve?” Be as explicit as you can.


The proposed action to solve the problem (or capture the opportunity). Line up the potential options against a decision-making framework. Explore pros and cons. Identify best option + reasons why.

💡 Tip: This is your key point. Be sure to define the supporting arguments that, together, lead to your recommendation. Depending on the complexity of the topic, this may also include supporting data that back up your logic. Preparing your pitch for each option ahead of time proves that you have weighed reasonable alternatives prior to presenting them.

Next Steps

Identify next steps, timeline and owners.

💡 Tip: This may include (a) what needs to be done (b) how it will be done (c) when it will be done, and (d) by whom it will be done. Moreover, this should include concrete milestones by which progress & success will be measured.

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