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Create:Source Code BE Team

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The Create:Source Code BE team is responsible for all backend aspects of the product categories that fall under the Source Code group of the Create stage of the DevOps lifecycle.

Team Members

The following people are permanent members of the Create:Source Code BE Team:

Person Role
Douwe Maan Engineering Manager, Create:Source Code
Nick Thomas Staff Backend Engineer, Create:Source Code
Oswaldo Ferreira Backend Engineer, Create:Source Code
Bob Van Landuyt Senior Backend Engineer, Create:Source Code
Patrick Bajao Backend Engineer, Create:Source Code
Igor Drozdov Backend Engineer, Create:Source Code
Kerri Miller Backend Engineer, Create:Source Code

Stable Counterparts

The following members of other functional teams are our stable counterparts:

Person Role
Achilleas Pipinellis Technical Writer, Create, Package, Monitor, Secure, Defend
Marcia Ramos Technical Writer, Create, Release
André Luís Frontend Engineering Manager, Create
Sam Bigelow Frontend Engineer, Create:Source Code
Phil Hughes Senior Frontend Engineer, Create:Source Code
Pedro Moreira da Silva Senior Product Designer, Create:Source Code
James Ramsay Senior Product Manager, Create:Source Code, Gitter & Gitaly
Mark Lapierre Senior Test Automation Engineer, Create:Source Code
Amarbayar Amarsanaa Senior Site Reliability Engineer, Create, Plan, Monitor
Justin Boyson Frontend Engineer, Create:Source Code
Michal Wasilewski Site Reliability Engineer, Create & Plan
J.B. Strategic Account Leader (Atlanta), Create

Hiring

This chart shows the progress we're making on hiring. Check out our jobs page for current openings.

Work

In general, we use the standard GitLab engineering workflow. To get in touch with the Create:Source Code BE team, it's best to create an issue in the relevant project (typically GitLab CE) and add the ~"group::source code" and ~backend labels, along with any other appropriate labels. Then, feel free to ping the relevant Product Manager and/or Engineering Manager as listed above.

For more urgent items, feel free to use #g_create_source_code on Slack.

What to work on

The primary source for things to work on is the Source Code backend issue board for the current release (don't forget to filter by milestone!), which lists all of the Deliverable and Stretch issues scheduled for this release in priority order. The lists are compiled by the Product Manager following the product prioritization process, with input from the team, engineering managers, and other stakeholders.

To ensure that the amount of scheduled work is reasonable, engineering managers estimate the weight of all issues the Product Manager puts forth for scheduling and limit the final set of Deliverables based on the issues' combined weight, historical team output, and the amount of time each engineer will be available to work on deliverables during this period.

There is also the Source Code backend assignment issue board (again, don't forget to filter by milestone!), which shows the same Deliverable and Stretch issues, now grouped by assignee, with the left-most list listing issues not currently assigned to any backend engineer. On each list, the issues are again ordered by priority.

What to work on first

Deliverables are considered top priority and are expected to be done by the feature freeze on the 7th so that they can make it into the intended release.

These top priority issues are assigned to engineers on or ahead of the 8th of the month, and it is their responsibility to make a best effort to get them done by the feature freeze, and to inform their engineering manager if anything is standing in the way of their success. You can find the issues assigned to you on the Source Code backend assignment issue board (again, don't forget to filter by milestone!).

Many things can happen during a month that can result in a deliverable not actually making it into the intended release, and while this usually indicates that the engineering manager was too optimistic in their estimation of the issue's weight, or that an engineer's other responsibilities ended up taking up more time than expected, this should never come as a surprise to the engineering manager.

The sooner this potential outcome is anticipated and communicated, the more time there is to see if anything can be done to prevent it, like reducing the scope of the deliverable, or finding a different engineer who may have more time to finish a deliverable that hasn't been started yet. If this outcome cannot be averted and the deliverable ends up missing the release, it will simply be moved to the next release to be finished up, and the engineer and engineering manager will have a chance to retrospect and learn from what happened.

Generally, your deliverables are expected to take up about 75% of the time you spend working in a month. The other 25% is set aside for other responsibilities (code review, community merge request coaching, helping people out in Slack, participating in discussions in issues, etc), as well as urgent issues that come up during the month and need someone working on them immediately (regressions, security issues, customer issues, etc).

What to work on next

If you have time to spare after finishing your deliverables and other activities, you can spend the remaining time working on Stretch issues, which can also be found on the Source Code backend issue board and Source Code backend assignment issue board (again, don't forget to filter by milestone!).

These lower priority issues are not expected to be done by the feature freeze, but are to be Deliverables in the next release, so any progress made on them ahead of time is a bonus.

Stretch issues are usually not directly assigned to people, except in cases where there is clearly a most appropriate person to work on them, like in the case of technical debt, bugs related to work someone did recently, or issues someone started on before but hasn't had a chance to finish yet.

If no Stretch issues are assigned to you yet, you can find new ones to pick up in the left-most list of the Source Code backend assignment issue board (again, don't forget to filter by milestone!), which lists all issues not currently assigned to any backend engineer. As the issues are ordered by priority, they should be picked up starting at the top. When you assign an issue to yourself to indicate you're working on it, it will move to your list and out of the left-most unassigned list, and the second issue will rise to the top for other engineers to pick up.

If anything is blocking you from getting started with the top issue immediately, like unanswered questions or unclear requirements, you can skip it and consider a lower priority issue, as long as you put your findings and questions in the issue, so that the next engineer who comes around may find it in a better state.

Instead of picking up Stretch issues, you may also choose to spend any spare time working on anything else that you believe will have a significant positive impact on the product or the company in general. As the general guidelines state, "we recognize that inspiration is perishable, so if you’re enthusiastic about something that generates great results in relatively little time feel free to work on that."

We expect people to be managers of one and prefer responsibility over rigidity, so there's no need to ask for permission if you decide to work on something that's not on the issue board, but please keep your other responsibilities in mind, and make sure that there is an issue, you are assigned to it, and consider sharing it in #g_create_source_code.

Async standup

The groups in the Create stage conduct asynchronous standups in the #g_create_standup channel 3 times a week, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

The goal is to support the members of these groups in connecting at a personal level, not to check in on people's progress or replace any existing processes to communicate status or ask for help, and the questions are written with that in mind:

  1. What did you do outside of work since we last spoke?
  2. What are you planning to do today?
  3. Is anything blocking your progress or productivity?

For more background, see the Async standup feedback issue on the Create stage issue tracker.

Retrospectives

The Create:Source Code group conducts monthly retrospectives in GitLab issues. These include the backend team, plus any people from frontend, UX, and PM who have worked with that team during the release being retrospected.

These are confidential during the initial discussion, then made public in time for each month's GitLab retrospective. For more information, see team retrospectives.

Deep Dives

The groups in the Create stage organize regular Deep Dive sessions to share our domain specific knowledge with others in the stage, the organization, and the wider community. More information on past and upcoming sessions, including slides and recordings, can be found in the Create Deep Dives issue on the Create stage issue tracker.