The 3 Best Practices For Agile 1-On-1 Meetings

Ruth Hadari
Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Mar 7, 2022
Updated on
May 23, 2022
Table of Content

Agile 1-on-1 meetings are a key component of successful technology projects. These types of meetings help teams stay productive and work to their fullest potential. They also provide an opportunity for team members to get to know each other and form connections with one another. 

But, what exactly are agile 1 on 1 meetings, and how can your business make the most of them? In this blog post, we'll discuss the 3 best practices to improve your agile 1 on 1 meeting experience and see better results overall.

What Is An Agile 1-on-1 Meeting?

Agile meetings are quick, efficient meetings where no minute is wasted. 1 on 1 meetings are routine gatherings of two people within an organization, mostly used to check in on performance progress. When you combine the two, you create a super productive and highly efficient meeting that covers all the bases in a routine manner.

While agile 1 on 1 meetings are quite similar to daily stand-up meetings, which agile teams often hold to make sure everyone stays on track, the two are quite different structurally. 

In agile stand-ups, a team member will give a brief update of how they're doing in terms of current and upcoming projects – a progress update, you might say. The meeting conductor may ask questions like “How much work has been done since last time? Where do things currently stand? How can I help you be productive today/this week?”

In agile 1 on 1s, however, you'll be checking in with the individual themselves rather than just asking about their specific tasks. You might ask about recent successes, areas of difficulty, personal issues affecting productivity, or goals and upcoming plans. 

Remember that 1-on-1 meetings are about your team members' needs and personal growth – they’re not just another status update!

When Should You Conduct An Agile 1-on-1 Meeting?

Industry leaders recommend that 1 on 1 meetings should be held weekly, as a lot can happen in just a few days. The point of these meetings is to help build up trust and rapport between you and your team members, so it's best to conduct frequent routine 1on1s to maintain consistency and usefulness.

Agile teams should aim to hold these meetings at least every two weeks. The agile process involves constantly gathering feedback from those involved and using that feedback to make changes accordingly, which requires everyone to be in regular constructive contact.

Three Best Practices For 1-on-1 Meetings

Agile teams should hold 1 on 1 meetings frequently to build rapport and trust, but that doesn't mean they're a free-for-all.  While one on ones should be casual and friendly, there are a few best practices that agile teams can follow to make sure their agile meetings remain relevant and productive. Here are our three best practices for agile 1 on 1 meeting success:

Ask Open-Ended Questions

It might take a while for your team members to get used to 1 on 1 meetings, especially if your entire business is new to the concept. Expect some people to be a little nervous and unsure of what to say or how much information to give. Your first meetings may feel a little stilted and awkward – and that’s okay!

To create better flow, agile team members should ask open-ended questions as these will help steer the conversation in the right direction. Open-ended questions create opportunities for meaningful discussions which provide insights into your team members’ struggles, successes, and overall satisfaction.

Keep It Snappy

Make sure that your 1 on 1 meetings are meaningful, but don't forget to keep them quick and productive! After all, they're still part of the Agile project management system, which values efficiency and productivity. 

Effective 1 on 1 meetings should ideally last for about 15 or 20 minutes. This will give you enough time to ask some good questions while still maintaining a sense of urgency and forward momentum in Agile projects.

Be Proactive

At the end of your 1 on 1 meeting, briefly recap important things you have discussed, especially the issues brought up and the steps you agreed to take to solve these. 

Afterward, make sure you take action and follow up on your commitments. Not doing anything about the things you have discussed is both counterproductive and a waste of a meeting – the very opposite of what agile meetings strive for!

Why Agile 1-on-1 Meetings Are Important

Agile project management is all about making adjustments based on your organization’s current needs. That's why having regular check-ins with your team members through 1 on 1 meetings can help keep things running smoothly. Not only that, but routine check-ins help to build rapport and trust, two key pillars of agile teamwork. 

By taking steps to integrate these meetings into your organization, you’ll allow your team members to share information freely in a less formal setting about updates, changes, and requests. A more productive team is well within your reach – all you need to do is take the leap.

About the author

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert

Highly experienced in leading multi-organizational teams, groups, in-shore as well as off-shore. The go-to person who is able to simplify the complex. An agile advocate, experienced in all common methodologies. Responsible for the entire software development lifecycle process from development, QA, DevOps, Automation to delivery including overall planning, direction, coordination, execution, implementation, control and completion. Drives execution, and communicates on status, risks, metrics, risk-mitigation and processes across R&D.

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