The E-group offsite happens every quarter for four days.
The goal is to have 25 or 50 minute discussions around topics that benefit from in-person dialogue, require more context and where the E-Group is likely to disagree. The agenda should include discussions that are:
We take notes in a Google Doc that contains the SSOT of the agenda. At least 1 month prior, the doc is created and proposed topics for discussion should be added to the bottom of the doc. (The CoS will pull from here when prioritizing and planning.) Please add links to relevant materials, issues, or proposals up front. When there is an issue or doc linked, we take notes there, instead of in the overall doc.
Every discussion should start by clarifying "What decision needs to be made from this?"
All follow up actions need to be captured as to-dos, noted with
TODO Person in the doc.
If there is not an exec's name tied to the to-do, it belongs to the CEO Shadows/and or the CoS.
Before emphasizing follow ups, many conclusions never landed and/or resulted into action.
Follow ups can take the form of a/n:
If we can conclude a topic early we move on to one from a reserve list. The CoS is responsible for maintaining the schedule, optimizing discussion schedules for energy levels, and having topics prepared.
Executives are committed to working through difficult discussions and problems during the event. They commit to being active participants by proposing topics to the agenda before hand and being executive sponsors for those discussion topics. They establish criteria for success for the discussion topics by, for example, identifying decisions to be made or establishing clarity on what the next steps need to be. If decisions need to be made to stop, continue, or change discussion when there is disagreement on path forward, the decision is responsibility of the topic executive sponsor.
The CEO Shadows are responsible for taking thorough notes throughout the event, so that the E-Group can be focused on the discussion. CEO Shadows will also tasked with making Merge Requests on behalf of an Executive. Please follow the below outlined process for announcing and merging the changes.
The Chief of Staff or other other team member is reponsible for facilitating the event. They will work with the EBA closely to ensure the event runs smoothly. The CoS is the on-the-ground person ensuring that the event is kept on-schedule, discussions are kept on-subject, helping steer the conversation when necessary, guiding conversations towards action items, and ensuring that implementation is about 50% of time.
The Executive Assistant to the CEO is responsible for organizing and coordinating the Offsite, including travel, lodging, agendas, and meals.
We will document agreed changes directly to the handbook and any other relevant SSoT during the meeting. Every item will get a MR maker and MR reviewer assigned. Most of the time the MR maker will be the Chief of Staff, one of the CEO shadows, or the EBA to the CEO. When the MR is ready, the reviewer is at-mentioned in the public e-group channel in Slack. The reviewer communicates with the maker via that Slack thread. The goal is to merge it the same day, preferably within 15 minutes.
Since most of the E-group is in the San Francisco Bay Area, we'll go to a location that is drivable or a short direct flight, for example: East Bay, Denver, Sonoma. We tend to pick a location at or close to a member of the e-group. If the CEO is traveling, the CEO Shadows should bring the Owl.
Hybrid calls are hard, but occassionally the Offsite will need to take a hybrid meeting form. When this is the case, the EBA to the CEO will ensure that the calendar invite for the Zoom offsite includes a Zoom link. The Zoom link should have a waiting room attached to it, since the zoom URL is on calendars and is discoverable internally. This also allows the e-group to pull in folks as-needed into the room without switching Zoom rooms, as people won't just jump in and out without being noticed or before the e-group is ready to move onto that subject.
The off-site is a quarterly meeting scheduled over 4 days (including travel time). The meeting should take place during the second or third month of the quarter to avoid conflicts with Sales QBRs and ideally occur before quarterly Board of Director meetings. Scheduling for the event generally follows:
E-Group is welcome to fly in early or stay later pending their travel preferences.
The Executive Assistant to the CEO is responsible for organizing this.
The Offsite is concluded with a two-hour Zoom call beginning at 10:30 in the local time of the offsite for all direct reports of the Executives. This time will not work for everyone, but we will standardize on local time of the offsite. The goal of this call is to communicate:
This Zoom call is a separate invite. The EBA to the CEO is responsible for setting up the invite, the doc for the call, and inviting all direct reports to executives. The CoS will moderate the call, if moderation is needed.
The offsite includes a 1 hour discussion, 15 minutes of which is on action items, on a book read explicitly for the offsite. The CoS solicits book nominations from throughout the company into a Google Form. Then GitLab team members get to vote on the book. The book will be finalized no less than 1 month prior to the offsite.