Your Organization's Most Important Process
June 17, 2022 at 9:02:00 AM
I work with companies across the globe to improve their product management organization's maturity. One of the "dimensions" of maturity I assess is "Process Maturity". My background is in business process management (BPM). I learned early in my career that organizations that acknowledge and optimize their business processes have a massive advantage over those who don't, especially as scale. At a certain point, adding people to the organization becomes counter-productive if there are reliable processes for them to drive and benefit from.
I often help my clients improve "core" product management processes like backlog management, roadmapping, and portfolio management. Most of us consider these processes foundational. However, there's another process that I consider even more important: hiring.
Which processes have the biggest impact on organizational performance vary over time. However, over the long-haul, hiring the right people is absolutely critical. As importantly, I know of nothing that adversely impacts progress like getting the wrong person on the bus. The cost in time, energy, and productivity is truly staggering. Those that have had to get a new hire back on the open market know exactly what I'm talking about. It is painful.
The best hiring process I've seen was at Microsoft when I was there. They knew how critical this process was and took it very seriously. Here are some of the more important aspects of their process that stuck with me:
Recruiters were extremely sharp and deeply understood the roles they were seeking to fill
Interview "loops" were scheduled on a single day; afternoon interviews were optional (if morning interviews went well)
At the end of each interview, the interviewer had to send an e-mail to the rest of the loop with a subject of "hire" or "don't hire"
More than one "don't hire" and the loop was over
Interviewers informed the rest of the loop regarding candidates' weaknesses so they could be explored more thoroughly during the rest of the loop
Someone from outside the position's organization would interview the candidate for cultural fit.
Think about how your organization or team hire. Is it methodical? Do you prepare? Is it treated like the critical process it is? If not, you have some work to do. Hiring is a team sport and works best when all those involved are aligned. However, you can already start improving your hiring process by thinking it through and making small changes to increase the chances of hiring folks who fit.
One approach you might consider is evaluating the role's requirements based on Coach PMs Building Block model. You could assign interviewers to emphasize one of the building blocks, for example. You could also define a mechanism for providing quick feedback between interviews.
I hope this post has inspired you to think deeply about the important of hiring to your team. Whether you are a manager or individual contributor, you can likely influence they way interviews are managed and improve the effectiveness of your hiring process.