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I work as a Software Engineer in a large company. My team of six has daily stand-up meetings to chat about what we did/will be doing for that day. I also have a bi-weekly one-on-one with my own manager.

Today, my manager asked to meet with me at the end of each day for 30 minutes, to discuss the day's events, in addition to all of the above meetings.

My question for the community is: has this been anyone else's experience? I've worked in a variety of different organizations and I have never had daily one-on-one's with a manager as a Software Engineer. My fear is that this will create a lot of excessive meetings, and I'm not 100% sure how to raise this to my boss.

EDIT: I've been on the team for a year and three months, and this is a brand-new thing, as far as I can tell. I'm not sure yet if anyone else on the team is scheduled for the same end-of-day meetings.

My goal in asking this question is twofold: first, to determine whether or not this is an uncommon practice, and second, if it is not a common practice and could lead to meeting overload, to ask for advice about how to raise that with my boss.

  • sure @bharal - thanks for clarifying the reason behind your downvote. If it's helpful, my question is a two-parter: first, to assess whether this practice is expected in the workplace, and then, to ask for some language or approach to use in addressing it with my boss. I understand that there are already questions of the latter nature on SO, but I couldn't find anything that directly related to what my experience was. – Daniel Jul 16 '18 at 20:21
  • yup @ChrisG - that is good advice. I didn't realize that this wasn't a valid question for this forum; can you point me in the direction of the docs which govern valid questions? I could locate them on my own but if you have a link, that would be helpful. Second, I agree with your point of view. Part of what I was hoping to get from this question was some context from my peers/other folks in advance of having that conversation :) – Daniel Jul 16 '18 at 20:23
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    @bharal It seems like that comment has answer material... mind turning it into a proper answer? Remember that answering in comments is not encouraged :) – DarkCygnus Jul 16 '18 at 20:55
  • @Daniel You are being groomed for a leadership position. Enjoy. – Wilbert Jul 17 '18 at 10:50
  • @Wilbert Alternately, his boss thinks he's not performing and needs to be micro-managed. – Keiki Jul 17 '18 at 12:11
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If you are going through a very intensive stage of a project or have a very important deadline your boss wants to make sure you meet, this may be totally normal. I've witnessed and organised such meetings.

If it lasted more than a few weeks, though, it wouldn't be normal in most corporate settings. It may mean your boss

  • is a micromanager and/or
  • distrusts you and/or
  • thinks you're not very good at what you are doing and/or
  • is looking for reasons to fire you and/or
  • feels totally insecure about their own position and/or
  • going in the opposite direction, likes you a bit too much.

Observe the situation to find out which one is true.

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    Or is looking for reasons to fire someone else and using OP as an example of someone productive. Maybe. – msanford Jul 16 '18 at 19:42
  • +1 - it's crunch time or he feels like you need intensive adult guidance for some reason. – mxyzplk Jul 16 '18 at 20:16
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    Any of that could be. But it could also be the manager is looking for a (new) team lead and wants to find out whether the OP is a suitable candidate. In short: any of that is pure speculation. – Abigail Jul 16 '18 at 20:24
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    During crunch times, it's not unusual, but counter productive. First, that one-to-one meeting is half an hour where I don't work towards my actual goals. Two, taking away half an hour of time where I work towards my actual goals is a good way to convince me that these goals cannot actually be that urgent. – gnasher729 Jul 17 '18 at 10:42
  • There are a few harmless reasons as well. 1) boss likes having meets with you 2) boss is bored so he manages more 3) boss thinks you do a better job managing so he meets with you more. – user7360 Jul 17 '18 at 16:13
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I have in my previous job.

During a large scale project, our IT manager wanted to meet with me every day as I was acting as the PM / Business Analyst and leading the forefront to all Business Requirements and User Testing. Although my title was "Business/QA Analyst".

Our daily meeting died down to once a week once he knew that I was grounded and confidently knew what I was doing with very minimal upper management. What I provided to him was a daily report of our Project plan with progress, issues and how we plan to solve them by X days. When it didn't go according to plan, it's highlighted in red which means, he either has to wait or I need him to do something at the Executive level (I included executive request).

Remember that in IT, nothing is "normal" per se. Every company / team adapts and accumulate processes that works best for them because every company have different resources, culture and goals. If your boss sees fit that you meet day to day, please do so and give him what he is looking for.

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    thanks! I especially like the reminder that nothing in tech is "normal". – Daniel Jul 16 '18 at 21:03
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Coming from the same industry (but as a designer) I have had something similar.

I had 3 daily stand ups, 1 bi-weekly team meeting, a weekly 1-1 with my manager and I was asked by my manager to write an email at the end of each day to tell him what i'd worked on with links to work where applicable (he wasn't always in the office hence the method of communication).

The stand ups, bi-weekly meeting and weekly 1-1 where normal, and are normal in many companies, so when this was introduced the team really didn't take it well as it was micro management at its finest, and time off billable project work.

You are right in saying that it adds another meeting you could do without, which is time not spent on project work and less productive (work on billable/paid projects) for you. We did raise it, this email took around 30 minutes to write and 4 of us had to do it. It would take 2 hours (collectively in the team) a day of productivity off the design team just write this email. Something he took onboard but still wanted us to do it. Not the easiest thing to explain to a Project Manager or a timesheet system.

As it turned out there where a few things in play that caused this:

  • He was asked to add pressure on to the team to increase productivity by the directors as it was a busy period. This for some reason was his method (illogical as it sounded) he would assess what work we where doing vs what he thinks we should be doing. This back fired massively, it stressed the team out alot.
  • He distrusted one of the people in my team and thought he wasn't pulling his weight as much as the rest of the team where because he wasn't filling in time sheets properly. But couldn't ask just him to do it as its singling him out and become obvious what he was doing.
  • He wanted to assess the overall productivity of the team, how much time we spent on paid work as apposed to marketing or internal projects.

So this was his strange method to address all 3 at the same time. It could be something similar with your boss.

Firstly this isn't really normal practice and when its done its generally a temporary measure, BUT there more often than not additional factors to this:

  • assessing the team
  • distrusting a team member
  • micro management
  • assessing work loads
  • making sure things are running smoothly if there are tight/alot of deadlines
  • a request of their management
  • assess the team welfare
  • someone has raised an issue

...This list could go on. Im sure your boss has his reasons.

Secondly ask your boss in your 1-1 why this is occurring and why it has been put in place, caveat that with you are worried about your time not being spent on projects. As we did, I asked by putting a logical case forward of asking why he was taking 2.5 hours a week off me (and each of the team) to do this, and he was honest.

More often than not there is an underlying reason for this, and there is no bad thing about asking why, its a change and they cant reprimand you for it. As long as you ask in a professional manner and not make it look like you are just complaining about it.

There is also nothing wrong with asking colleagues (if you can) if they are having to do the same, this answer will give you alot of information.

  • Increase productivity by wasting time and upsetting the team. Yeah, that will work. Especially since the average game designer loves designing games, but hates writing emails about their work (not just game designers, but almost everyone whose job isn't writing emails). – gnasher729 Jul 17 '18 at 10:48
  • I know, it was pretty ludicrous, his thinking is that it will pressure us to try get more done in that time as he was constantly checking. Pretty flawed thinking. Agreed, alot of the team did it but hated it so it didnt make the environment pleasant. Especially having to explain to the PMs/AMs why they where loosing 2.5 hours each off us. – UIO Jul 17 '18 at 10:50
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As someone outside of the IT industry, you may want to take my answer with a grain of salt, but I did have a very similar thing happen to me.

I rarely ever had formal sit down meetings with my boss, then he started to ask me to sit down with him 1 on 1 twice a week. It turned out the meetings were because he was going to retire. He knew I would most likely be promoted to take his job, but had been asked to keep that confidential.

The meetings were a way for him to learn more about me and see if I would be a good fit for the position, and for me to learn about how he did things before I was promoted.

Again, I'm not in the IT industry, but I see a lot of answers here about micro managing and him not trusting you. Just wanted to share that my similar experience was actually positive.

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Daily team stand-ups are normal. Bi-weekly one-to-ones are normal (though frustratingly uncommon, IMO). Daily one-to-ones are not normal.

30 mins "at the end of the day" with you, multiplied by (let's assume) all six members of the team, means the manager would be spending their entire afternoon in 121s, every single day. If he/she has time for that, I can only assume that everything in your company must be working perfectly, and he/she is bored, having nothing else to do! That's definitely not normal.

As for why it might be that this unusual situation has arisen, I can only speculate. Perhaps you have misunderstood, and it won't be every day - or perhaps it will be closer to 30 seconds than 30 minutes. If it is only for you, not the rest of the team, perhaps there are concerns about your performance which need to be addressed by close monitoring; or perhaps your manager wants to give you additional insight into his role, in preparation for you getting a promotion taking over from him. Not knowing your situation, I can't say for sure (though having been on both sides of such unusually frequent 121s, if I were a betting man, I'd put my money on performance concerns... sorry).

The good news is that 121s (in any remotely sane environment) are bi-directional. In your first daily 121 (or whenever else you get the opportunity) you can simply say, in a neutral way, "we've never done this daily before, and I don't think it's a common practice. Can you please explain what this meeting is about?" Ask the same question in different ways if you need to, but make sure to get an answer.

I wouldn't recommend raising objections about "meeting overload" or similar until you know the intended purpose. If you're being monitored for poor performance, "meeting overload" is not going to get you out of it. If you're being primed for a potential promotion, complaining of "meeting overload" might seem ungrateful. Or it could be something else entirely. Find out first!

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