Cancel your one-on-ones

2 min readOct 17, 2022

One on ones should only exist for manager/leaders and direct reports

Netflix series …

One on ones are key meetings in most companies, they occurs between many employees and can fill up to 20h per week for managers (really)…

Some examples

While 1–1 are crucial in many ways … they are in most cases merely a shortcut for poor discoverability, poor documentation and outdated working practice. Does the following sound familiar?

“I was talking to Iza who told me that to use this new feature you need to rise a request with his team and talk John to see how they will handle it?”

“During my catchup with Jacob, we decided to implement solution A”

“Hi, I am trying to understand the code for A, can you give me a walkthrough?”

What is the issue in the first situation? Well, documentation and process seem to be missing. This person seems to be merely a non scalable messenger. This does not feel right, Why was this meeting needed? this could have been a document.

In the second situation, the decision making process seems quite archaic. While this one seems obvious, many decisions are taken in 1–1 without documentation and justification. Don’t you feel excluded from the decision making process?

Well, the third one clearly points towards a lack of documentation or discoverability of the documentation.

One-on-Ones limit the need for documentation

It is so much easier to schedule meetings than write documentation and clear code

One-on-Ones create a meeting dependencies

You will just get dragged along

One-on-Ones limit discoverability

Well… What is discussed in 1–1 is in 1–1

One-on-Ones create opacity and relation-based opportunities

Yes. It rewards extrovert and rewards relationship

Wait should we cancel all 1–1?

No… many 1–1 are very useful:

  • mentorship 1–1
  • manager — IC 1–1
  • 1–1 when you onboard a new company
  • 1–1 for socialising

“But my current 1–1 are very useful…”

Think about the following when you have a 1–1

  • Should more folks be involved in this topic
  • Am I just a messenger?
  • Am I excluding some people from a decision making process?
  • Could this be a short note that bring people together?

Strategy/Data/Leadership ~~ Twitter data science ~~ ex-gojek~~ web3 enthusiast