For more details about the vision for this area of the product, see the Plan stage page.
|John Hope||Backend Engineering Manager, Plan:Product Planning|
|Felipe Artur||Backend Engineer, Plan:Product Planning|
|Jarka Košanová||Senior Backend Engineer, Plan:Product Planning|
|Jan Provaznik||Staff Backend Engineer, Plan:Product Planning|
|Charlie Ablett||Senior Backend Engineer, Plan:Product Planning|
|Eugenia Grieff||Backend Engineer, Plan:Product Planning|
|Christen Dybenko||Senior Product Manager, Plan:Product Planning|
|Alexis Ginsberg||Senior Product Designer, Plan:Product Planning|
|Marcin Sędłak-Jakubowski||Technical Writer, Plan|
|Donald Cook||Frontend Engineering Manager, Plan|
|Kushal Pandya||Senior Frontend Engineer, Plan:Product Planning|
|Eulyeon K.||Frontend Engineer, Plan:Product Planning|
|Rajat Jain||Frontend Engineer, Plan:Product Planning|
|Florie Guibert||Senior Frontend Engineer, Plan:Product Planning|
|Axel García||Frontend Engineer, Plan:Product Planning|
|Mike Long||Product Design Manager, Plan & Manage|
|Jeremy Watson||Group Manager, Product Management, Manage & Plan|
This chart shows the progress we're making on hiring. Check out our jobs page for current openings.
We have a metrics dashboard intended to track against some of the Development Department KPIs, particularly those around merge request creation and acceptance. From that dashboard, the following charts show MR Rate and Mean time to merge (MTTM) respectively.
The following chart shows a breakdown of MRs by category (omitting Security, for now). Totals may vary slightly from overall throughput as some MRs may have more than one throughput label.
We have an application performance dashboard (internal) that tracks the performance of the parts of GitLab for which we are responsible.
We use a lightweight system of issue weighting to help with capacity planning, with the knowledge that things take longer than you think. These weights are used for capacity planning and the main focus is on making sure the overall sum of the weights is reasonable.
It's OK if an issue takes longer than the weight indicates. The weights are intended to be used in aggregate, and what takes one person a day might take another person a week, depending on their level of background knowledge about the issue. That's explicitly OK and expected.
These weights we use are:
|1||Trivial, does not need any testing|
|2||Small, needs some testing but nothing involved|
|3||Medium, will take some time and collaboration|
|4||Substantial, will take significant time and collaboration to finish|
|5||Large, will take a major portion of the milestone to finish|
Anything larger than 5 should be broken down if possible.
We're discussing a possible change to the weight scale we use.
We look at recent releases and upcoming availability to determine the weight available for a release.
Estimating bugs is inherently difficult. The majority of the effort in fixing bugs is finding the cause, and then a bug be accurately estimated. Additionally, velocity is used to measure the amount of new product output, and bug fixes are typically fixes on a feature that has been tracked and had a weight attached to it previously.
Because of this, we do not weigh bugs during ~"workflow::planning breakdown". If an engineer picks up a bug and determines that there will be a significant level of effort in fixing it (for example, a large migration is needed, or we need to switch state management to Vuex on the frontend), we then will want to prioritize it against feature deliverables. Ping the product manager with this information so they can determine when the work should be scheduled.
To assign weights to issues in a future milestone, we ask two team members to take the lead each month. They can still ask questions - of each other, of the rest of the team, of the stable counterparts, or anyone else - but they are the initial.
To weight issues, they should:
The rotation for upcoming releases is:
|13.8||2020-12-13||Jan Provaznik||Felipe Artur|
|13.9||2021-01-13||Charlie Ablett||Eugenia Grieff|
|13.10||2020-02-13||Charlie Ablett||Eugenia Grieff|
|13.11||2021-03-13||Jarka Košanová||Felipe Artur|
|13.11+1||2020-04-13||Jan Provaznik||Jarka Košanová|
Work that arrives in ~"workflow::ready for development" that is out of scope or ill-defined should be returned to ~"workflow::planning breakdown" for further refinement. To avoid the disruption this introduces we try to reduce the number of times it happens by planning more carefully. While it's not always possible, we aim to identify complexity before the build phase. For this reason, we assign a backend DRI to help with each upcoming deliverable during design and validation phases.
However, sometimes complexity can't be accurately estimated until development work starts. If you anticipate this during planning, consider creating a spike to produce a design document. Notify the participants in the issue, especially the PM, that a spike is required, create a separate issue and follow these steps:
The deliverable is a design document that answers the questions set out in the issue description. This can simply be the issue itself, containing a summary of the discussion in the description, answers to the questions and links to any PoC MRs produced.
Points of weight delivered by the team on the last three milestones, including rolling average. This allows for more accurate estimation of what we can deliver in future milestones. Full chart here.
Most issues, especially features, involve working with other disciplines. A single issue will often be shared between frontend and backend and it can be difficult to know which workflow label should be applied, especially when progress is at different stages.
To ensure visibility for other team-members, for issues with a frontend and backend component:
We value velocity over predictability so use your own judgement on whether you should wait for a frontend engineer to get involved before proceeding with development.
Since all feature flags start as disabled by default, we should aim to document the feature as soon as it's safe for testing by users using the feature flag template. Don't wait until a feature is performant and stable to document it, instead do so once it's secure and won't leave data in a corrupt, interim state.
Try to include docs with the first MR to introduce usable functionality. If this is an API addition with no UI, document that and allow the FE engineers to update it as work proceeds. As the feature flag rollout proceeds, the documentation should be updated.
This avoids the rush to provide documentation that often accompanies the release cutoff.
It's OK to not take the top item if you are not confident you can solve it, but please post in #s_plan if that's the case, as this probably means the issue should be better specified.
Everyone at GitLab has the freedom to manage their work as they see fit, because we measure results, not hours. Part of this is the opportunity to work on items that aren't scheduled as part of the regular monthly release. This is mostly a reiteration of items elsewhere in the handbook, and it is here to make those explicit:
When you pick something to work on, please: