Project prioritisation for Talent Acquisition teams
The pitfall of “diving in”
Working on projects presents us with the temptation of just “diving right in”. Your teammates throw around a bunch of ideas, someone creates a spreadsheet to capture them, you assign owners and off you go.
Result: too many ideas, too little time, people working in silos without support, very few projects actually get done. Even fewer get adopted for the long run. Buy you want your projects to have real impact, and you want the impact fast - before you run out of time to work on them! You'll need to prioritise.
Simple project prioritisation for TA
Existing Project Management methodologies are quite robust and typically made for teams whose main job is to work on projects (eg. product development teams). The learning curve can be steep so it's unlikely that a TA team will have the bandwidth to bring everyone up to speed before the project's deadline arrives. So, I designed a simple prioritisation method, adapting from the RICE methodology used by Intercom. It consists of two steps: scoring your projects and then selecting the ones with highest scores.
Step one - score your projects
Each of your project ideas should be assessed on 3 criteria:
REACH - this is about who will benefit from your work. The more direct beneficiaries, the better. For example, when solving for headcount planning issues, you will benefit more people by focusing on the end-to-end process (including HR, Finance etc.) instead of only solving for how to assign requisitions fairly between your recruiters.
When deciding which groups to count as beneficiaries, assess if the pain/opportunity is significant enough that they would agree to work with you on a solution? Will your project make their lives easier? Will it bring a significant improvement to their experience?
Assign 1 point for each group of beneficiaries. If your organisation is big enough, you can assign additional points for impacted regions (EMEA only is local vs all locations are global) or areas of business (only Sales would be local vs all teams would be global).
IMPACT is measured by what’s changed for the better. How much will your solution improve the experience of your beneficiaries? For example:
What is the amount of time you will save your beneficiaries?
What is the % increase in process efficiency?
Will this project result in a % increase in candidate and/or HM satisfaction?
What will be the % improvement in our ability to attract candidates as a result of this project?
Not all of these factors need to be present - a project can still have a huge impact if it increases candidate satisfaction by 50% but does not save any time. This score will always be our best estimate, but an educated guess is better than no guess at all.
TIME TO VALUE - This is your estimate of how quickly you can deliver value to your stakeholders.
When estimating this, take into account the work that your team will need to put in - for example, do you have to create new resources, train team members, generate reports etc. Be aware of dependencies on other teams within the company that will impact how long it may take us to execute on a project. Other teams will have their own roadmaps and timelines that we need to take into account.
In this category, the shorter the time to value, the more points you award to your project idea.
Step 2: Select the highest scoring projects
Once you've scored all your projects on all 3 criteria, simply add the points awarded per project. You will end up with something like this:
Focus on projects that will generate the biggest value (IMPACT) to the largest group of people (REACH) in the shortest time (TIME TO VALUE) - this is project 1 in our example.
You can also decide to make a second order selection for projects that will generate IMPACT and have wide REACH but take longer to complete - this is project 2 in our example.
Your third choice are IMPACTful projects with short TIME TO VALUE but with smaller REACH - project 3 in our example.
Scrap projects that generate little improvement (IMPACT) and are slow (TIME TO VALUE). No point working hard for a small gain.
Final note: No tool will replace the need for critical thinking and your good judgement. When making your final selection, always sense-check if the projects that are coming out at the top are aligned with company goals and objectives and if this is the right moment to be pursuing them.
Happy project work!