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Vanessa Gomes
Vanessa Gomes

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Demystifying 1:1 meetings - part 1

Click here for a BR-Portuguese version of the article

During my conversations with colleagues who also work in Tech companies I noticed that "1:1" meetings have been a practice that teams are pursuing more and more. I have been played a Tech Lead role for the past three years and I talk about this topic because this has been a consistent practice on the teams I've been.

1:1s can be used as a tool in many different situations and because of that many people ask:

  • What's a 1:1?
  • Who should schedule this type of meeting?
  • What should I talk about there?
  • At which frequency I should be scheduling those?

Traditionally. 1:1s are meetings between two people and are a space where they will share performance evaluation, improvement feedback or salary review.

I'll bring some insights based on my experience as both a Software Developer as well as being a Technical Lead who had a ton of 1:1 meetings. I believe these tips can help not only people who are on a team where this practice is encouraged but also those who want to begin having 1:1s but don't know how to start.

I'm going to schedule a 1:1 but I don't know what to talk about. Is there a specific format?

Essentially you can talk about anything. There isn't an ideal model as it all depends on how people will feel more comfortable to start sharing with each other.

Some common topics to have a conversation about it can be performance, feedback space, expectations setting and alignment and any personal development topics.

Always try to bring feedback to the other person: acknowledge and reinforce what they do well, good behaviours and practices and also bring improvement opportunities about each other.

It's important to notice that your 1:1 meeting format may vary depending on how long you and the other person have been on the same team.

Insight: let people know about the areas you want to grow on, where are you heading on your career and which areas you would appreciate receiving feedback about

Suggestions for when you are both on the team for a while now

If you and the other person have been working together and are familiar with each other, consider some topics that include:

  • Current an upcoming challenges
  • Mutual vision on what's going well on the team
  • What's not going well, boring situations, bad practices
  • Give each other Feedback
  • Interesting opportunities on the project

Tech lead insight: schedule recurring 1:1s with the people from your team. Talk about people performance and also share challenges and opportunities that might be interesting to the teammate.

To be continued...

I hope this small guideline already helps you kicking-off some interesting conversations on your team.

In the next texts I will share some more insights for other types of 1:1s, for example when you have new members on the team.

See you there!

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