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As a manager, 1-1s should not just be considered status reports. They are a way for you to build trust and communication with your staff, and to give them a chance to talk about anything: problems, work on personal development, or feedback about you as their manager.

1-1s are probably your most valuable tool. Often, you will discover problems and info you would have otherwise not known - "our lead developer seems depressed and was talking about quitting", "did you hear about that other project that started? It's in direct conflict with our plans...", "there's a conference coming up, we should present at it", and so forth.

An effective manager should, in my opinion, spend 50% or more of his time with his team. Working on the same topics, talking to them, helping to plan, fixing problems, finding resources, and doing 1-1s. It's no surprise that teams with the most problems often have a manager who is just not around enough.

For new managers, I always suggest the following resources as a great starting point:

- "Team Geek": http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920018025.do - "Managing Humans": http://www.amazon.com/Managing-Humans-Humorous-Software-Engi... - Manager Tools podcast: https://www.manager-tools.com




>1-1s should not just be considered status reports.

And scrum standups should only take 5 minutes. Theory is one thing. Reality is another. It's even worse when you have a team that does scrum, and also schedules regular 1:1s with the boss. I'm expected to give my status every day, and then summarize a week's worth of status at the 1:1 meeting. It's a colossal waste of time, and I don't know how to "take charge" of my 1:1 (or even if I'm supposed to take charge) in order to refocus it onto what I want it to be about.


When 1-1s become the weekly status report, your manager has failed you. Your manager should know what's up because he is around, uses the team's tools, and asks questions.

You should definitely take charge of 1-1s. Maybe try bringing a list of non-status related issues and hand them over. The problems you see, ideas you have, off-topic things. Make it clear to your boss that things aren't working.


that's just poor execution and as you point out, can suck the value out of anything




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