One of the first questions I get asked by someone who reads my book, Sprint Recruiting, is how to begin measuring iterative productivity during the sprint. They get how to add points to the positions to determine priority and once they go through two or three sprints, they begin to understand how the process works. The hang up always comes to how to measure how much work is done or what progress is made day to day and sprint over sprint.
For those who are unfamiliar with iterative growth or iterative productivity, it is the gain in efficiency and productivity during a measured period of time. Think back to when you first learned how to ride a bike or roller skate. The first “sprint” may have been trying to stay upright for 30 seconds. When you fell, you quickly learned what made you fall and cognitively identified what you needed to do go for one minute without falling. Each fall was an opportunity to quickly assess what was working and what wasn’t. Your brain processed what didn’t work and identified solutions to avoid it in the next attempt. This is iterative learning and the same process is applied when you break tasks into sprints: it gives you an opportunity to learn how to scale what works and avoid what doesn’t.
The “sprint” in the Sprint Recruiting Methodology allows you to track real progress while also increasing capacity, efficiency and agility in your process. If you’re only tracking progress in terms of time to fill a position, you’re really missing out on the opportunity to innovate, iterate and accelerate your recruiting process.
Let’s look at how you can measure iterative productivity in recruiting. Warning, this is a highly technical post.
Start with Status Categories
Once you’ve exported your requisitions into a worksheet in either excel or my favorite, Smartsheet, you can begin giving each requisition a status in the process. Our team uses the following:
- Backlog– Positions not being worked on at the moment. This can include new roles in the sprint or those that do not have points or candidates in process.
- Sourcing– We use this to identify roles we are actively working on but have to source candidates.
- Recruiter Interviewing
- Hiring Manager Submitted– Roles we have submitted candidates for and awaiting feedback.
- Hiring Manager Interviewing
- WIP– Those roles with the maximum number of candidates either submitted or interviewing with the manager
- Done– Accepted offers
Once you’ve determined your status categories, have the recruiters update each requisition with the appropriate status.
In Smartsheet, we are able to use the “card view” to create swim lanes and provide a quick view of where we are in the sprint. See below:
You can do the same in Excel using a Pivot Table. Simply select the entire sheet, Insert and select Pivot Table. You’ll want to use Status as both your Rows and Values fields as seen below:
Setting up your Progress Chart
On a blank worksheet, set up your row headers to have a column for Status and a column for Days 1-10 as see in the example below. You’ll use column A to add your status categories:
At the end of the sprint, you’ll have something like this:
Evaluate Progress on Day 3, Day 5 and Day 10
You can review the chart above and see some basic metrics but I always like to go a little deeper! If you really want to see where your progress and obstacles are, you’ll need to throw in some formulas in a separate chart. I’ve found the best way to keep the process moving is to examine the net change on days 3, 5, and 10. Here’s how to do it.
Formula: Cell Backlog Day 3- Cell Backlog Day 1
Using the chart above, I can see that we only moved 10 roles out of our backlog during the sprint. Depending on how many roles are open, this might be a great metric or could mean that the team is being bogged down on administrative tasks associated with the later half of the recruiting process. Nonetheless, I now know this is an area I need to explore deeper with my family.
Adding Pictures! (Charts)
I’m a visual nerd. I love looking at numbers but charts make things so much easier to understand. If you’d like to see the progress of the sprint, try using a line graph. Here’s an example of the progress made during a sprint, using the chart we’ve build thus far:
The red line is how we started the sprint. Very quickly, I can see we greatly reduced our backlog and had a good process flow of candidates over to our hiring managers. Focusing on this process allowed us to close 37 jobs in two weeks. Not bad but of course, there’s always room for improvement.
Analyzing the Trends
Track each sprint using this method to better understand which sprints have better results. This is valuable information to use during your biweekly retrospective meeting. You’ll begin to recognize how your chart is “supposed” to look at certain stages in the process. This will allow you and your team to quickly identify when you’re off track and work together to either refocus or identify the obstacles that need to be removed.
I’ve been using this method for about 90 days and by Day 5, I usually can tell if we will hit our goal at the end of the sprint, based on how the chart looks.
I go into more detail in the book so if you haven’t ordered it, now’s the time!
and Sprint Recruiting
Trent Cotton is a highly accomplished leader and strategist with extensive experience in organizational development, talent management, and business operations. With a strong background in HR leadership, he has a proven track record of designing and implementing innovative HR programs that drive employee engagement, retention, and business performance.
As an experienced executive, Trent has worked with some of the world’s leading companies, where he has led and supported HR initiatives across a broad range of functions, including talent acquisition, workforce planning, diversity and inclusion, performance management, and employee relations. He is also highly skilled in HR technology implementation, data analytics, and HR process improvement, helping organizations to optimize their HR operations and drive business results.
If you follow his blog http://www.sprintrecruiting.com or have read his book, Sprint Recruiting, you would experience his raw communication style, his ability to build and lead high-performing teams, and his strategic mindset. He is passionate about creating workplaces where employees can thrive and grow, and he is committed to helping organizations leverage the power of their people to achieve their business objectives.
In addition to his professional experience, Trent is actively involved in his community and has served on several boards and committees supporting education, workforce development, and diversity initiatives.
In his free time, Trent has written two books: “The 7 Deadly Sins of HR” and most recently, “Sprint Recruiting”. He will be releasing “The High Performing Recruiting Team” in the fall of 2023 and “FutHRist” in 2024.
He’s an active participant in the HR Industry and is asked to participate in roundtables or provide keynotes for many organizations. His blog Sprintrecruiting.com reaches thousands of readers and provides unique insights on a range of recruiting topics.