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How We Shortlisted 12 People from 50 Candidates

Shortlisting can feel like a mammoth task. Take a too high-level approach and you’ll be left with the sneaking suspicion that you missed something important. Get bogged down in the nitty-gritty, and everyone gets overwhelmed and demoralised.

Our co-founder Andy recently directed a shortlisting process to narrow around fifty applicants to a twelve-strong interview list. Saying goodbye to three-quarters of an applicant pool is never easy, so we decided to share his shortlist process in the hope that it could help others attempting a similarly gruelling task.

(Please note: none of the screenshots shared here include anything sensitive or confidential! We recreated the process with dummy info to share it with you all.)

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Retrospectives

A regular retrospective is the most important meeting you will have - It brings your team together, improves your processes and creates a powerful iteration cycle. If you aren’t running a retrospective regularly, this post will give you everything you need to know to start. If you are, then we can give you some ideas to help with your existing retrospectives.

In a retrospective your entire team reflects on your process; you look at what’s working well, what’s holding you back, and what you should change. Together you agree on some actions or changes, then implement them. In the next retrospective you reflect on how the changes have gone, and agree on any further iterations. By going through this cycle regularly, you implement a process of continual feedback and improvement and are able to work towards a more effective and enjoyable process.

Steps

Most retrospectives will follow a similar set of steps:

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The Planstorm

Planstorm noun

  1. A technique for developing a plan out of a complex and dynamic environment

In any project you probably experience a regular but surprising moment where things are sailing along smoothly, and then suddenly they're not. Something changed that you didn’t see coming; A deadline or constraint appeared, someone joined or left the team, or you finished the current cycle of work, and now you don’t know what to focus on or prioritise next. All the work that was ticking over nicely now needs rethinking and you can’t keep it all your mind at once to figure it out.

Whenever the landscape changes like this, there’s a technique that I’ve stumbled across to get back on track and get my thoughts in order. It’s basically a brainstorming session that turns into a plan, so I’m going to call it the... Planstorm, because I’m bad at naming things!

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