A 1:1 is always your meeting. My meetings are performance reviews and formal calendar invites. As always, others have written with more eloquence than I on the topic, so I picked one for you that summarizes my approach.

Format of a 1:1 doc

I like to have these categories in my 1:1 docs:

  1. Prioritized topic backlog
  2. Action items
  3. Dated summary of items discussed

1. Backlog

The topic backlog is a dumping ground for things that come up during the week that you or I would like to discuss together. It’s a place to put things like “Alice and Bob had a weird fight in their pull request this week, wtf was up with that” or “my learning feels like it’s stagnated, what work can I take on to challenge me a bit more?”

This list of topics should be prioritized by what’s most pressing, weighing on you the most, or is the most time-sensitive.

2. Action items

Here we’ll hold each other accountable to what either of us will be doing to follow up on a topic we discussed. Every item in this list needs a feasible due date, and we will try to audit the action item list every check-in.

3. Dated summaries

When something from the backlog is discussed, move it to the dated summary so we have a record of your progress and growth.

Sample 1:1 doc


  • What’s the long-term plan for the banana stand?

Action Items

  • 2022-01-11 (@ceo): share the job description for Mister Manager
  • 2022-01-04 (@cashier): check the receipts in the banana stand to determine its daily earnings
  • 2022-02-30 (@cashier): Install fire extinguisher in banana stand



  • How much money is in the Banana Stand?
  • When can I get promoted to a manager of the banana stand?