Hi everyone,

First time posting to Manager-Tools.  I will be starting my first management position and leading a team of 20+ SW engineers.  I listened to the first podcasts for rolling out the trinity and 1-1s.  The recommendation is for a weekly 1-1 but with 20+ directs, that would eat up approx 10hrs... 

From what I learned, it seems going bi-weekly or less frequently dilutes the usefulness of the 1-1.  Any advice?  Is committing 10hrs/week for 1-1s too much? is it feasible?  Anyone doing it?


Thanks for any feedback, Jason.

williamelledgepe's picture
Training Badge

Do you have 20 DIRECT reports?  Or do you have 5 DIRECT reports who each have 3 DIRECT reports of their own (who are your skips)?

If you truly have 20, you should listen to the cast on span of control (unfortunately, the guidance from that cast will probably have to be implemented after you figure out how to implement O3's with 20 people).  


jlee's picture

I am joining a dept where the previous SW manager was overloaded so they are looking to add another.  20 is approx 1/2 SW engineers.  however, I agree with you that it would make sense to break it down further.... that makes alot of sense.  I suppose, once I inherit my team, I should be have the authority to break down the hierarchy even further... but I won't know who to appoint until I start the 03's I suppose....


Thanks for the reply, Jason.

Smacquarrie's picture

You are not alone in this. I have 34 directs under me.
They are broken down into 3 teams and each team has what we call a Workflow Specialist (WFS). THe WFS directs the day to day operations but really has no authority over personnel. I don't agree with it but that is our current structure.
As a result I am doing O3's with all 3 of the WFS's and a couple of other employees that need the extra attention. I will be rolling O3's out to the rest of the team by the end of the quarter.
Is the time worth it? Short answer is YES.
I have other employees coming up and asking for the same time with now as they all see the benefits of this behavior. I have managed to turn 1 of my employees around and have also changed the relationships between my position and my directs very quickly by giving them an ear to listen.
Best advice here is to go slow to go fast. Start small and build yourself up to it. I currently have about 12 hours of my week set aside for O3's (I had to block the time out to try and prevent scheduling overlaps).
Best of luck

jlee's picture

Hi Mac,

thank for the input.  Do you meet wih all you skip as well as the WFS weekly? Or is that your plan? 

I think it will be similarly organized as you are describing.. ie. WFS control the day-to-day operations you manager still have personnel authority... meaning, manager still needs to know what everyone is doing if only to do the performance reviews... Is that correct?

So you set aside 12 hrs fo 24 1/2hr Os?



Smacquarrie's picture

I need to be clear that I do not have skips. All of these folks are my directs.
Your assessment of the situation is correct though in how our WFS fills the gap.

I started off with those more senior and in need of help. I had a couple of months to get to know my teams so that I could identify those needing help.
Yes, I will have (in the next couple of months) meetings scheduled with all of my employees.
The only upside to this is that they are spread out across 3 shifts.
If you are able to set aside that much time I would say to go for it.
Is there a way that you can spread them out (multiple shifts/schedules)?
Take advantage of what you can.


distributedx18's picture

The thing about 1-o-1 loosing value when not beeing weekly is true, BUT the value loss is not that big to warrant your life becoming miserable doing 10 hrs + 5-10hrs rest between 1-o-1's.

I had 18 at a point and did bi-weekly schedule and it was worth it.

Now down to 10 after getting an additional manager on team I'm looking forward to try go weekly, but I might stay on bi-weekly just to keep my sanity since I also need to do other work besides managing.

In short - better to do biweekly 1-o-1's well than weekly 1-o-1's badly :)


todmv01's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

At one time I had over 30 direct reports. Now I am down to 17. It can be difficult to schedule and maintain that number of meetings. It is ok to use biweekly schedule. In some cases I meet with new hires or remote workers weekly. The meetings are scheduled in January and run through the first week in December. The meetings are invaluable! I have been doing them for years. I tribute my engagement and retention scores to the 1:1 meetings. When a position opens, I have no trouble finding and promoting from within. Let me how if have questions. I'd be happy share what I can. Regards, Dave

WritePaper's picture

Thank you for your reply and full disclosure of the question of scheduling the schedule in advance. This theme is very close to me.