Based in San Francisco, Remote Branch is a blog by Todd Larsen. His posts suggest Management best practices for Hiring and Mentoring software engineers.

Treasure the 1:1

As a manager, the most important meeting you’ll have is the regularly scheduled 1:1 with each of your direct reports. The trust and rapport built during this meeting is the foundation for all other interactions you’ll have with your team.

Without a dependably scheduled 1:1, your reports won’t have a consistent place to share the things weighing most heavily on their minds. The more extroverted members of your team might be able to persevere and share anything and everything, unprompted and ad hoc but for those who feel less comfortable broaching more sensitive subjects out of the blue, the issues that ultimately drive employees to quit will fester.

Use the 1:1 time to discuss the things that can't be easily communicated via other forms of communication, like Slack, email or the daily standup. This means status updates and other routine communication should be avoided during the 1:1 time and instead communicated in more formal meetings and casual conversation.

Instead, talk about things like their career ambitions, what made them pleased and displeased in the last week, what their vision of the ideal engineer is, and how they think you can do a better job as a manager. This meeting belongs to your direct report and should serve whatever interests they currently have. This isn't your meeting, but theirs. Let them set the agenda, come prepared to listen, and most importantly, act on what will help them be more effective in their careers.

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