Should Scrum Master have One-on-Ones?

Hi guys, Anatoly from Define Agile here. Today we’re talking about one-on-ones. Should Scrum Master or Agile coach have one-on-ones with their peers?

First of all, I just want to make it clear, there is no word about one-on-ones in the Scrum guide. So if you’re strictly following the guide – there’s no one-on-ones there.

However, I have one-on-ones with every team that I work with. Right now I’m working with three teams. Those teams have in total about 25 people. I have one-on-ones with every single person in the team, whether it’s a product owner, QA, business analyst, content strategist, content writer, developer, designer, UX designer, visual designer, anyone. Technically, I am having one-on-ones with every single person there. Why do I do that?

First of all, why are we doing our work as an Agile practitioners? We try to remove impediments. Sometimes it’s very hard to gather the problem especially when you joined a new team or you’re a new person in the team and people sometimes are not ready to start speaking up everything on the retros. But you still need to figure out what the core problems are, so you talk to people one on one, you ask them questions, you are honest with them, you understand their problem, you help them solve their problems. This is how the trust begins to establish between you and people in the team.


It also allows you to realize what is not working on a much deeper level.It is important to help every individual on its own and make sure that all their personal things are addressed. Many, times I was able to uncover very big problems that nobody talked about in a team just by having one-on-ones with people.

I always have all my one-on-ones confidential. I never share anything that people don’t allow me to share, but I find this tool to be invaluable.

Are you having one-on-ones with your peers? Is it working or is it not working?


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