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Is it important for managers to give devs regular feedback on how they're doing and vice versa? I say vice versa because I consider employees to be responsible to their manager, and managers to be responsible to their employees. Everyone seems to think this is a good idea but in practice I rarely see it happen because so many shops are "agile" now and that usually means a daily standup plus a weekly kickoff, etc. So one-on-ones just don't happen.

In my last position I had my first one-on-one w/ my manager 6 months after I'd been w/ the company. It turned out there was lots of misunderstanding, misalignment and confusion built up and snowballed. Not really surprising when there's no direct personal communication for that long.

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The daily standups are supposed to solve those problems. –  superM Aug 28 '12 at 10:08

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Yes, one-to-ones are very important, above and beyond the meetings Scrum dictates.

Daily standups give daily feedback on the state of the project. Iteration planning meetings are specifically for planning the next iteration. Even retrospectives concern what we as a team are doing well or can do better.

Nothing in Scrum encourages a manager to sit down, preferably out of the office environment, with each individual and talk to them. This should be a regular opportunity for stopping small problems from snowballing (because no one likes surprises at review time), but MUCH more importantly it should be a way to get feedback on how you are doing as a manager, what you can do to improve individuals' lives, and what you aren't aware of in the team (perhaps a team member who isn't performing).

The experience you had is not unique, not by any stretch of the imagination.

Rands in Repose did a good article on healthy 1-to-1 cultures a couple of years ago.

The sound that surrounds successful regimen of 1:1s is silence. All of the listening, questioning, and discussion that happens during a 1:1 is managerial preventative maintenance. You’ll see when interest in a project begins to wane and take action before it becomes job dissatisfaction. You’ll hear about tension between two employees and moderate a discussion before it becomes a yelling match in a meeting. Your reward for a culture of healthy 1:1s is a distinct lack of drama.

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Great Rands in Repose article! –  MebAlone Aug 28 '12 at 17:20

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