Visual Board for Recruiters

Scrum, Kanban or Scrumban for a headhunter’s company

I was recently asked what would be a suitable tool to use for a headhunter’s  company’s workflow. Is it Scrum, Kanban or Scrumban for a headhunter’s company? I first answered Kanban but I’m not so sure now. So, I would like to share my thoughts on this question:

 

What kind of tool should a headhunter company use: Scrum, Kanban, or Scrumban or none of them?

 

Let’s start with a simple question: what are a headhunter’s company’s needs? And what is the general workflow? (Workflows can be different depending on the company).

 

Headhunter’s company’s objectives

 

A headhunter’s objective is to deliver a great value to their client in no time.

 

The workflow
  • Grooming and prioritizing of the work tasks or the client requests for a short period of time – the stakeholder prioritizes which work tasks and client requests to process first.
  • Searching for the potential candidate
  • Inviting the candidate for an in-house interview
    •     If the candidate hasn’t passed the in-house interview then return to the searching step.
  • Sending the candidate for the client-side interview. 
    •     If the candidate hasn’t passed the client-side interview then return to the searching step.
  • Placement
    •     If the candidate doesn’t accept the offer then return to the searching step.
  • Sharing the knowledge and discussing each placement – Demo in Scrum
  • Discussing all the non-positive scenarios and finding a way to improve – Retrospective in Scrum
    • Discussing a better way to fulfills the needs of a customer faster
    • Discussing the better and faster way to find the proper candidate, which means less candidates are needed.

 

The additional workflow activities
 
  • Short daily team meeting are not required because they may happen based on a team member’s request. They can be used to help other team members.
  • In the absence of a client the task can be returned to its starting position. All the work for this client is now on hold.
  • A demo meeting shows the previous period (iteration) success. A presenter is sharing the knowledge with the other team members and stakeholders.
  • At the retrospective the team discusses the unsuccessful cases and looks of the cause of a candidate’s rejection, process time and any other waste as well as works to improve.

 

Now let’s try to apply the objective and the workflow on each tool.

 

Scrum for Headhunters

 

Scrum is more organized but also more strict.

 

Scrum
Head Hunters
Iteration
1-4 weeks iteration
1 to 4 weeks is a great duration time to catch up and prioritize
Planing
Product Owner (PO) is prioritizing tasks
Stakeholder is prioritizing tasks for the team and adding them to the board
Daily scrum meetings
Mandatory
Only if team members want to discuss something
Demo
Mandatory
Not necessary but can be useful to share knowledge
Retrospective (continuous improvement)
Mandatory
It would be great to have a retrospective to discuss the successes, and to dissect the issue
Tasks status by the end of the sprint
by the end of the iteration the work item queue is empty
Some tasks can be prioritized and returned to one of the previous stages. That could happen if the client is absent or put the position on hold for a while.
Adding new tasks during the iteration
Is not allowed in the pure scrum
More tasks can be added if needed or one task is replaced with another higher priority one
Teamwork
Collaborative
Team members work together if necessary
Work in Progress (WIP)
Controlled by sprint velocity
Controlled by workflow state
Keep undelivered tasks on the board after the iteration is ended
Is not allow in the pure scrum
Possible in absence of a client contact.

 

Kanban for the headhunters

 
Kanban is very flexible but it requires the extra effort to get better control.
 
Kanban
Head Hunters
Iteration
Continues workflow
1 to 4 weeks is great duration time to catch up and prioritize
Planing
Stakeholder is prioritizing tasks for the team and adds them to the board
Daily scrum meetings
Only if team members wants to discuss something
Demo
Not necessary but can be useful to share knowledge
Retrospective (continuous improvement)
It would be great to have a retrospectives to discuss the successes, and dissect the issue
Tasks status by end of the sprint
The process continues.
Some tasks can be prioritized and returned to one of the previous stages. That could happen if the client is absent or put the position on hold for a while.
Adding new tasks during the iteration
New task can be added at any time
More tasks can be added if needed or one task is replaced with another higher priority one
Teamwork
Team members work together if necessary
Work in Progress (WIP)
Controlled by workflow state
Controlled by workflow state
  Keep undelivered tasks on the board after the iteration is ended
Continues workflow. The unfinished task can stay.
Possible in absence of a client contact.

 

Scrumban for the headhunters

 

 
Scrumban
Head Hunters
Iteration
Continues work with short cycles for planing
1 to 4 weeks is great duration time to catch up and prioritize
Planing
Planning on demand for new task
Stake holder is prioritizing tasks for the team and adds them to the board
Daily scrum meetings
Only if team members want to discuss something
Demo
Not necessary but can be useful to share knowledge
Retrospective (continuous improvement)
It would be great to have a retrospective to discuss the successes, and the dissect the issue
Tasks status by end of the sprint
The process continues.
Some tasks can be prioritized and returned to one of the previous stages. That could happened if the client is absent or put the position on hold for a while.
Adding new tasks during the iteration
New task can be added at any time
More tasks can be added if needed or one task is replaced with another higher priority one
Teamwork
Not necessary
Team members work together if necessary
Work in Progress (WIP)
Controlled by workflow state
Controlled by workflow state

 

As we can see none of those three frameworks can truly fulfill the headhunter’s workflow. Scrum is too strict for the very flexible and unpredictable headhunter’s task flow. Kanban has enough flexibility but the headhunter’s flow requires an additional control of the result. Scrumban is more suitable for the headhunter’s workflow with some small exceptions.

 

Let’s try to figure out the best combination of all those tools for the headhunter’s company based on our best current knowledge.

 

To capture all of the client’s requests create a task card for each individual request and add to the Tasks column (backlog in Scrum) to make sure that nothing is lost on the way.

 

Visual Board for Recruiters.001

 

Next logical step would be prioritization. In this step the stakeholder (product owner in scrum) prioritizses the tasks and moves them in the To-Do column. The task closer to the column header is higher priority than the farther down tasks. The number of the tasks in the To-Do column can be limited by the work in progress limitation.

 

Visual Board for Recruiters.002

 

Another way to show task prioritization is by coloring the cards. The red card is a high priority task, the blue is a medium and green is a low priority. Yellow cards can be used for the Task column, although it will become an extra step to introduce different colours. Personally I don’t like this type of the prioritization because it is not clear which of the following tasks of the same colour have a higher priority.

 

Visual Board for Recruiters.003

 

The following step is the team members take one task and move it to the Search column beside the To-Do column. It is good idea to write a team member’s name under the card. That helps everybody see who currently owns this task.

 

Visual Board for Recruiters.004

 

After a potential candidate is found a new task card can be created and displayed on top of of the original task card. A different color card can be used for that. In the meantime it is absolutely fine to change it when multiple or different people work on the same task.

 

Visual Board for Recruiters.005

 

When a candidate is rejected the candidate card is moved to the rejection column and the task card goes back to the search column. You can discuss this later at the retrospective stage.
 Visual Board for Recruiters.006

 

Move the task and candidates’ cards to the client-side interview column. Write the task owner’s name under the card.  When the candidate is rejected the candidate card is moved to the rejection column and the task card goes back to the search column. You can discuss this later at the retrospective stage.

 

Visual Board for Recruiters.007

 

After the candidate has passed the client-side interview the task and the candidate cards go to the placement column.
 
Visual Board for Recruiters.008
 
When final step has passed successfully and the candidate got the offer both the candidate and task cards go to the demo or done column. It is nice to have the demo column. It shows all the successful cases that can be discussed in the demo meeting.

 

Visual Board for Recruiters.009
In the meantime the stakeholder can replace the task in the To-Do column with the higher priority task from the Tasks column.

 

Visual Board for Recruiters.010

 

A free team member picks the next task from the To-Do column. The picked task must be the top priority.
Visual Board for Recruiters.011

 

What to register and how to use it.

 

Register
Use
Register the time that was spend on each candidate.
Gives an idea of what is the search and placement velocity is.
Register the time that was spend for the whole task. This will include the time from every team member who worked on this task.
Gives an idea how much time was spend on this particular client and by adding the dollar value it will show the profitability of this client.

 

The crucial thing in this process is not the process or workflow or tool. The crucial thing is to apply continuous improvement (kaizen). You don’t need a special time or case for continuous improvement. What you need is the mind set to continuously look for things that can be improved and improve them.

 
 
 
Scrum is not a project