Luke Melia

software dev

June 28, 2007

Scheduling One-on-Ones

Ed Gibbs muses about scheduling all his one-on-ones in a single day. He had previously been spreading them across two afternoons.

Like Ed, I also do weekly one-on-ones with each member of my team. In fact, Ed’s blog helped me decide to adopt this process. It has been an excellent way to support people on a personal level and address any issues early. I highly recommend it to every manager.

My one-on-one process has evolved in a different direction than Ed’s, though, so I thought I’d share it here. We’ve moved from 30 minute meetings to 15 minute meetings. Each meeting is scheduled either at the beginning or end of the day. This is mainly designed to 1) avoid interrupting war-room hours, 2) let me have my lunch hours free (lunch is the only time that doesn’t interfere with the team’s war-room hours).

Anyway, it works pretty well for us so far. I do six a week right now, and I generally pair with the person I one-on-one with immediately following (mornings) or preceding (afternoons) our meeting.

Do you have any nuggets or horror stories about one-on-ones?

3 Responses to “Scheduling One-on-Ones”

  1. jpreardon chimed in:

    I experimented with different one-on-one schedules over the years and found that, for me, doing them back-to-back on one day worked best. As Ed indicates, mid-week works well, if you can do it. Holidays and days off, among other things, interfere with Mondays and Fridays often enough to make it hard to keep to a regular schedule. These meetings were very valuable for both me and the people I met with. I can think of no horror stories though. For anyone thinking about initiating one-on-ones, my advice is to find out what schedule works best in their environment, then carve out some standing meetings. Those meeting times should be sacrosanct, rescheduling frequently sends a very bad message. If everyone is new to one-on-one meetings, expect that the first couple might be cumbersome. In a short time, however, they will pay off in many ways, some unexpected.

  2. Ed Gibbs chimed in:

    I like the beginning/end of day idea as well, but given my current corporate environment one day a week probably works better for me. I’m jealous you have/make the time to pair up with all your developers every week though. Maybe I need to change my environment.

  3. Wendy chimed in:

    Having a one on one with you and then pairing has been a lot of fun. One on ones use to be a blocking issue before you took up the practice of blending it into your pairing session. Additionally, since we always pair before/after the meeting, you are sure to pair with everyone on the team each week. If I’m out on our usually day, its pretty easy to switch meetings, you’ll just pair with someone else. With this system, there is no time constraint, so if we need to talk something out, nobody else gets cut short — even lunch :)

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